25 October, 2013

I Didn't Get Soaked.

Near-run thing, with some hefty chunks of white water flying about the Nose this morning!

[[And speaking of hefty chunks.. The Thing showed up again... :O ]]

The gouts of water got a little close at times, but fortunately the wind didn't shift back to SE. I tried getting spectacular ly rubbish shots, but the sea wasn't playing ball and I didn't feel like abandoning my watch to get a big blur of white.
Saying that, here are a couple anyway..

Caught the blowhole - just!

Very hard getting the timing, with the delay on my phone.
That pool is from the notch on the left of the previous photo btw...


So, today I got up far too early to zip down to the Nose for a pre-work seawatch.

[[Mad, mad I tell you...]]

I got in three very enjoyable hours before I had to pack up and head off [Ah, the joys of the Mid Shift...]. Star bird [The Thing doesn't count] was another gorgeous juvie Sabine's Gull!!! But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Yesterday evening was notable for firstly the low-flying Redwings, and secondly the large amounts of rain that fell later on. Despite the forecast not being ideal - sun was likely - the prospect of the South West's Biggest Chumming Machine doing its thing seemed worth the punt. The strong overnight SE wind did mean there wasn't a slick so much as a dirty tinge, but it seemed to work pretty well!

BHGs were in constant attendance, with a few Herrings and LBBs - though no Geebs [maybe no big enough bits left?] - plus passing Common and Med Gulls. Ah yes, the Med Gulls.. :) At least 6! 3 or more adults [the most in view at once], a 2cy, and 2 juveniles - brilliant! The Sabs came tacking in towards the fun, but then disappeared; whether it stayed well out and was hidden by the [not inconsiderable] swell, or went into Hope Cove where I couldn't see it, or just went away again I don't know. So, no close range views for me and no horrific attempts at pictures for you. Drat.

Passage wasn't exactly epic.. Gannets hourly figures were 19, 22, and 75! Almost all the 52 Kitts were in the last hour, too.

That said, the last hour wasn't the best; one wonderful 15 minute spell just after 9 saw not only the Sabs, but 2 divers [GN and a nice close imm. BT that looked like it went into the Bay], the first of the Med Gulls, a Purple Sand in/off, and another Merlin!! This one came cruising past at 0915, mixing in a touch of the 'disguise flight' now and again - I think it was taking advantage of the headwind to take rests. Other migrating land birds were mostly larks - in small parties low over the water, plus a group of Linnets and a lone Swallow.

A few auks went hither and thither - also 27 were on the Ore Stone ledges - 17 C Scoter and 3 Brent Geese passed south.

Note: You may find re-reading the new version of last Friday's post explains a this next bit. Or you might very reasonably want to pretend it doesn't exist. The latter may be the wiser course..

As for The Thing... 
Well, it was way out in Lyme Bay at 1117; left of the Wreck and beyond it. I now know it has a big pale bill - angled, not held dead straight out - and as well as those bowed slow hand-y flaps, it gave a couple of low, almost half-hearted arcs; it didn't hold its wings stiff when it arced, though it didn't flap either. I also saw it plonk down on the sea! Notably it didn't dive in like a Gannet will - even just to rest - but flared like a shearwater [wings out, undercart and tail spread and well down], or maybe a skua; there was a sense of hesitancy about it you sometimes see with landing skuas.. 
The flight jizz almost like a huge lethargic Cory's, maybe. Plumage was as before, structure seemed to have a reasonable caudal projection, but not the sharp spindly taper of a Gannet. It still seemed to be very laboured in its flight, as if there wasn't really enough wind for it. I'd be very interested to know if any of the day boats out there have met it.
And no, I still don't know what it is. If anything, I'm more uncertain now than last week....

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