27 December, 2012

Bonxing Day

Having spent the 25th with the Family [While we did go for a wander, the Waxwings weren't forthcoming, though there were Long-tailed Tits at one point :) ], the promise of a nice fast and frisky-looking front coming through in the middle of the day had me toddling once again down to my Beloved Hope's Nose.. ;)

I sat myself down on the Steps in bright overcast - it's so nice when you can set up in the dry - and then after a brief pause to say some very rude words*, I packed up, slogged back up the Slopes, into my li'l car, and home again.

But why? Well, you are aware of the saying "I'd forget my head if it wasn't screwed on"? Yeah, exactly.

[[Ok, you can stop laughing, now.]]
[[At least I wasn't at 'gwarra.    I kept telling myself that.]]

Back again a short while later and it had started to rain. Sideways. Joy.

But I got back down and set up and off we go! The Gannet clicker was along again and this time it decided to work. Well, it looked like it was working, anyway... It got a little work before the front and more after it had come through, as did the other two, with Gannets, Kitts and Auks - almost entirely Razorbills - moving in small numbers and Fulmars in even smaller ones. A few gulls remained on the sheen that was the slick - then the SWBCM kicked in and it got busier; I counted highs of 16 Common Gulls, 45 BHGs, 45 Kitts, and 30 Fulmars - plus Herrings and Geebs.

But nothing fancy passed. No grebes, no divers. Eventually a GND did appear, this one a nice 1w but it was lurking by the slick, not flying. Not that I'm complaining. The Scoters turned up - this time 27 of them - and a 1w Shelduck flew overhead. I checked the Ore Stone ledges in a spell of no rain and counted 196 Guilles and 3 Razorbills.

Then, an hour after the front, I got one! A Bonxie came trolling along and to my delight pounced on an adult GBB and proceeded to kick seven shades of shit out of it... The poor Geeb, after trying fleeing, fighting, and crying for it's Mum, finally barfed something up and was sent packing.
An hour and a half after that, I got another - a nice juv. - and in the next 45 minutes 4 more skuas showed up! :D Not only another Bonxie but two, yes two Poms! Not bad for December. [The fourth, well the third, actually, was a dark morph skua sp.]. The first Pom was an adult or thereabouts and showed up towering like a frickin' Pterodroma, but always stayed distant, the second - a light morph like the first - was a 2cy that came close enough to show the lovely barring to prove it.

I almost stayed until the light went, but decided instead to swing by the Downs and look off Blackball for the grebes. This was a mixed bag - I was there late and the light was already too bad for my scope, but I could still get stuff as usual through bins and what stuff! A big gull roost had gathered, I counted ~2300! 450+ Kittiwakes were more expected, given the wind, 2 RT Divers were nice, but also very close in, as were a couple of Razorbills. No grebes could I see. At all. I suspect they may have been hidden among the monster gull flock - which coalesced from a half dozen small ones - but with big clouds sucking the daylight away, I couldn't pick them out.

Oh, I almost forgot the scores;
Gannets S 225 N 8
Kittiwakes S 396
Auks [90% Razorbills] S 286 N 17
Fulmars S 52+ [with much milling about]

[[*Which I certainly couldn't repeat here.]]

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