30 May, 2013

The North (West) Wind Doth Blow

Sod it, I'm seawatching anyway!!

It's shutdown week at work, so here I am. :)
Thus far this week I've given the Patch an overdue battering - though my feets seem to have come off worst, I have to say - with not a whole lot of spectacle in result. I counted just shy of 300 Guillemots and at least 2 Razorbills on the Ore Stone, having lugged the Big Scope down - hopefully the rest were off fishing and not dead of PIB [[Sign the Petition!!]].
The northern House Martin colony has no sign of life yet, though the nest locations are not exactly easy to monitor, so there may be one or two birds around, but no more than that. The southern [and bigger] colony is showing life and nesting activity, which is great.
Closer to home, small bird numbers are still down on where they should be, with 3 pairs of House Sparrows coming into the Garden [there's usually at least 6 nests in visiting range] and a high count of only 3 Greenfinches. Better is the continued visits of 2 Goldfinches and the first small species fledgling seen - a Great Tit [though only one]. Corvids and pigeons are doing just fine, Herring Gull nest numbers may be down a touch, but it'd need proper surveying to be sure - not a big enough change to be casually noticeable if there is one.

Right then..

After Sunday's Moor fun and a day stomping the streets, I was knackered and couldn't summon the energy to go for the evening front on Monday. I thus missed out on Puffins and serve me right.  :(

Tuesday, though, I was determined to see some sea. With the wind the wrong way but nice-looking showers forecast I decided to take a trip, seeing as it's hollyday time and all. I went to a place I've been but once before and that a few years ago - The Dodman. For those who can't be bothered to gogle it, 'tis a peninsula on the south coast of Cornwall; midway between the Fowey and Carrick Roads. Site of a peninsula fort [coastal hillfort] and home to seriously impressive views. The point is of the flattish top, steep slopes and cliff variety. The top's exposed, but on the SE corner is a bit called Dodman Horse where the resident ponies have made zigzag paths down to an assortment of shelves and dells, some sheltered by small outcrops. It's very open to a SE, but from S and westwards, you've got good shelter - if mostly higher than I'd prefer. [Of course, I'm used to the Nose and it's 15'-30' of elevation...]

As you might expect, there wasn't an avalanche of passage, with about 17 Manxies an hour. A couple of Puffins were nice, if a tad distant, and each time one of the scattering of trawlers pulled in it's nets, it attracted a mobile cloud of gulls which included a small posse of skuas. Star performance came not from above the sea but below it... Oh yes :D  Basking Sharks!!
Two in very close proximity seemed to be circling each other [co-operative feeding?], sadly interrupted by an FPV. One went down at once, the other headed south at an impressive rate - cue awful phonescope shot!

Basking Shark [well, the dorsal fin].
Yes, out on the right. Couldn't crop more as it was barely in frame. 

Also passing - though unlike most of the feathered birds, heading east - were two of these fine specimens;

Finally finally... I was also out today, but time is against me as I want to get some shuteye. A very quick summary: More seawatching; no Apaches, but a gorgeous Pom Skua! :)

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