20 October, 2013

Hope's Nose

And the Award for Originality in Post Titling goes to....

After all the fun on Friday, I had thought about going up after that plover the day after. Of course, not having had any sleep since Thursday was a slight issue, what with long drives and all. The logical answer was to not set my alarm and see if I woke up in time to head off - if I did, then I naturally had had enough sleep, right? Well, I didn't, so what of Saturday remained I spent bashing the Patch to little avail. The most interesting news I have is 'No Purple Sands yet'..

Today was a different matter. It was feasible, despite the forecast weather. The trouble was.. Did I really want to? It's a very long trip for a slightly odd-looking Ringo, after all. Yes, I've been to Hayling Island before, but that was going on [on solid gen] from nearer-to. The necessity of heading out before news was another factor - yes, it's incredibly tarty, but twitching is damn stressful, especially going on spec. Having quite enough stress going on right now as it is, I figured the benefits [nice big Mega On My List] didn't outweigh the costs.

My original plan was the one I chose - The Nose.

I also had a lie-in - probably a tactical error, but sod it. Not like there was a front coming though.

At the Nose there were even some migrants! No warblers at all, but a juv. Hobby was the first bird I laid eyes on, right after getting out of my li'l car! A good omen? I think so. :) Then, down at the Steps, a little band of 4 Mipits kept me company all day [when not being chased around by the Rockits, anyway!].

Getting started mid-morning, I ended up giving it 7 hours! It was... well, a lot like Friday, really! More stuff passing, and actual badass squalls to boot, but definitely a case of a trickle with the odd spot of quality. The rain, while it was fierce and lasted a fair while, didn't get the Chummer going properly. It produced a small brown patch and a short-lived smell that got a band of Kitts interested enough to sit on the sea for a while, but no proper slick. Drat.

Hourly Gannet numbers!
160  13  56  135  60  87  66

Hourly Kittiwake numbers!
41  57  6  39  31  34  22

[[Yes, I had some time on my hands..  ]]

Shearwaters were very thin on the ground..er, water. I saw only 4 Balearics and they were well spread out, too.
About one Razorbill went south every 10 minutes, plus a few Guillemots and later on a few Razorbills went north just to be perverse. No auks at all on the Ore Stone all day.

One small flock of C Scoter, a few Common Gulls and BHGs make up the alsos.

There were a lot of very dark juv. LBBs knocking about; most annoying, these, as there were dinky ones and big chunky ones which at range looked [and flew] horribly like skuas. Good practice, yes, but quite vexing when one zips past while you're trying to count a flock of Kitts..

Speaking of... I managed to pick out 16 actual skuas; which was pretty good, one of them a Long-tail which was really good, but 5 were spp. - 3 smaller ones, 2 bigger ones; they were way out.

Not that distance always saved them from getting pinned down. One hugely distant biggun was harrying Gannets; looked a bit off for Bonxie so was going to be a 'spp.' until it banked right over in the light and showed off a huge pale belly - a Pom!! :D Multiple miles out, it's a new distance record for skua ID - Big Scopes rock. ;)

While I'm gloating... I got a Stormy! Just the one and heading north at speed, but still, nice to actually see one.

Best 'til last... Not one, not two, but three, yes, three Grey Phalaropes! Just before the rain arrived, they came zipping south in line ahead and splatted down on the sea for good measure! SCORE! They were on the Manxie line, rather than coming right in, more's the pity, but seeing any Phals, especially on Patch, is a treat. [Three's just delightful.. :D ]

Time for that mantra; Patience, Persistence, and a Huge Scope.

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