10 December, 2012


A weekend of Patch bashing for me, and I must warn you;

This Post May Contain Gulls

So abandon hope all ye who enter here.....

Despite covering a great deal of ground, I have skilfully managed to avoid any and all Waxwings - drat - with much of the action coming from the sea. Primary exception to that being the arrival of Blackcaps and the sustained if more elusive presence of Blackstarts. Frau Blackcap has taken up station in the Garden though so far no challengers have shown up to start Garden Wars III [It could be argued that the Blackbirds are doing a fair job by themselves, of course].

Getting to the sea: both days I checked the north half of the Bay. Saturday's calm gave me 3 GC Grebes, 2 GNDs, and a Guillemot, today with more wind I only found 2 GC Grebes and a RTD - but a [the?] Guillemot was not out at sea but in the Inner Harbour! Showing cripplingly well as it finished terrorising the little fishies, had a preen, then swam out under the Teeth - JOY. :D The Real Living Coast was home only to a Rockit due to the high tide, but yesterday there were 11 Turnstones and 2 Purple Sandpipers - far fewer Purps than I'd expect.

Also far less than expected was today's paltry grebe roost off Blackball... 4!! The Common Scoter flock still hangs about the Ore Stone, the unhelpful wind direction meant I could only see 8 today. Better was a nice group of 13 Gannets, which were fishing off Preston. They got a long and careful check in case of cetaceans, but with no sign thereof, alas.

With the Guillemot taking Star Bird today, it may not be a surprise to learn that yesterday's Star Bird was also in the Inner Harbour. What was it? A gull!

[[Run... Run while you can! Aaaarrrrggghhhh....]]

Today there were about 90 Herring Gulls hanging about - 43 on their pontoon - plus a few GBBs and 2 Moorhens. Yesterday the numbers were much lower, but stood side by side on the slipway were two adults. They caught the eye because one was markedly darker; with a darker mantle and darker and more extensive head streaking.. I naturally moved to change the angle of view [as gulls are evil little sods easy to get wrong] and found to my delight interest that no, it wasn't an artefact of angle. Also, I got a good look at those primaries.. Oh wow, what a P10! Dipped in white!!

Yes indeed, a very nice can't-find-anything-wrong-with-it argentatus Herring on the Patch! Result!

It wasn't around today - though with a trawler dragging ~600 gulls across the Bay, it might still be in the area. Finally a little late migration, with a flock of 23 Chaffinches over south this afternoon.

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