24 December, 2012

'Twas The Weekend Before Christmas, Part 2

The shopping is done, the dekkers are up [albeit sometimes falling back down again..], it's time to bash the Patch!!


It was so dead I thought someone'd come along with a giant vacuum and sucked all the birds up.

I exaggerate, but not that much. I couldn't even find a Great Tit or a Dunnock or a Chaffinch - how is that?!? There were three gulls in the Inner Harbour - plus the Moorhens, it's true - and on the sea a lone Razorbill with a couple of Shags way off in the distance... Meadfoot didn't even have that - a lone Shag is all...

The best birds I saw were stuck in the Trawler Wreck. Ok, if they'd been out in the wild it would have been Screaming Giga time as they were Spectacled Eider!!  Fuck's sake, what birds, what beautiful amazing birds... Swimming back and forth with King Eider, dodging penguins, wondering where the ice is. I didn't know they had them there. I call that place the Trawler Wreck, I loudly wonder why they have Choughs in there when they're not planning to reintroduce them to Devon, my heart breaks a little every time I see the Fairy Terns flying ceaseless circles... Birds in cages.

Getting back to non-ranting, Hope's Nose gave some birds - a few Gannets and Kittiwakes lingered on. 3 Common Gulls stayed with the outfall and 11 Common Scoter were nicely close inshore. At least 140 Guillemots were on the Ore Stone ledges, with a lone Razorbill flying south. A couple of idiots paddle boarders had cleared Hope Cove, but there were a lot of gulls sat about on the Lead Stone to look at. Well, you never know, even if it is a reach for bins. [You can do the easy stuff, but the pattern of the limestone makes a scope vital for immature gulls]. Trying to maintain a compromise between height and distance*, I was contouring the mown section of the Lower Slope when I got a surprise; Woodcock! Flushed out of the longer grass it flew off to the North Side [as all good birds do]. Wowser, what a Patch Tick!!! :D

The light was fading as I got to the Downs for the Grebe roost. Right, where are they....? There's one down there, where are the rest? Er..  Ah.. No....  The gulls were easy, a big gathering of ~650, but I eventually found the Grebes way off to the east, 35 of them plus the one close in made 36. Not a lot, really. A couple of Razorbills were closer, as was a diver; my first and only of the day - what a difference from Saturday - a light grilling [don't want to burn it ;) ] made it a GND.

Well, what a weekend this one's been!

[[*While you can get pretty close along the Sole, you're almost level with the birds, and as the Lead Stone is very curved on top and sloping away in two directions- thus why I think the name Flat Rock is ridiculous, btw - you'll not be able to see as many birds. Climb higher and you're markedly further away. It's swings and roundabouts.]]

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