22 July, 2017

"That's a Great Shearwater."

Spoken in a very matter-of-fact manner, though admittedly with only my own company - so not entirely calm - as said bird arced up above the horizon, the sunny side of a mile off Hope's Nose on Friday afternoon. Visibility had [temporarily] shot out to near said horizon, and the sea was suddenly there after a long period of deluge-created gunk.

It wasn't the first of the day, it was certainly the furthest out, but striking the classic pose, in the classic flight action - and lit beautifully - it was definitely the easiest.

The first one is always the hardest. It's the credibility factor. It doesn't matter how good the weather's being, how right the time of year, even, to an extent, how many you know are / may be in the area. You see, you train yourself on the species you see all the time. And for shears off Devon, that's Manxies, plus Balearics. You look for Sooties in Summer-Autumn, you hope for big ones, you dream of Barolo's and Yelks.
But what you see are Manxies and the odd Balearic. In their variety and eccentricity.

Thus, when something else comes through and isn't being really obvious - say a nice close well-lit Great doing the big shear flight amongst a bunch of Manxies not doing the big shear flight - your tricksy brain tries the most common shape first and sees if it can jam it in.

So you get me going "Oh, that's a pale Balearic" to myself, as a Cory's goes cruising by inside the Ore Stone [I'm not letting that go any time]. Or you get me wondering "How can a Manxie with that much marking on its underside not be a Yelkouan - I mean, it's just not got the attenuated rear end and oh is that oil staining... and look the head's all.........Oh [CENSORED]!!!!!!!"
[The first Cory's was 'a very brown and white Manxie' for a moment...]

Yeah, so Hope's Nose was fun on Friday.

Nowhere near as much fun as it would have been if I didn't have an actual job, mind.

Yes, while The Boss and The Artist et al were getting TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY BIG SHEARS at Berry Head, I was a work, getting covered in swarf and coolant. Joy.

But work ends and I was prepared. Get home. Get kit. Get to the Nose.

I had exercised dreams of getting there before that wonderful-looking cold front did; catching pre-front passage, beasting out the rain, then getting post-front exodus. It was a nice plan.

The rain started before I even got home, and by the time I was skidding down the Slopes, it was hammering down.

Then it rained harder. And harder.

At least I had all my gear on - 'tis a rare luxury to put my bag cover on in the dry - and while I wasn't exactly dry after setting up, I did find that the wind was feeling amazingly generous. The wonderful wind was SW if not WSW and on The Steps, I was almost out of it. Just lookit!

Bumbleshoot resting on my knee!

Yes, those are hivis waterproof trollies; they're my latest attempt to find ones that will keep me dry for a full seawatch and survive the experience, being allegedly hard-wearing rail workers' attire. We shall see.
Observe also the visibility, with gunk just outside the Ore Stone [so @1km], also the swell breaking waves over the Lead Stone, and the slick from the SWBCM starting up.. :)

"Thar she blows!"

The blowhole was on good form, too.

There were not huge numbers of anything passing, alas and alack. The three figure shearwaters were all in the AM, it seems. But as you may have guessed, I did see some; with 2 Great, at least 3 Cory's, 2 Sooty, and a mere 81 Manx. No Balearics. One Bonxie. One storm petrel; which came in to the slick and close enough for me to hope for a shot... but the big swell hid it too well and then it noticed all the gulls and.. Drat.
Also; 59 Common Scoter, one each of Raz and Guille, 88 Gannet, 84 Kittiwake, a variety of Fulmars - hanging about and spoiling my count attempt - and a few gulls. The one Med came through and didn't pose. Other gulls did.

Eyeing the slick.

Better pose, worse attempt.

Almost art.

Can you guess what it is?

"Now this is how you pose"

Because you've gotta have a Herring Gull.
At least three juvenile YLGs - including two together - with one looking a lot like the 'less obvious' one The Artist has had at Broadsands. My first juv LBB of the year - with that all-dark tail looking nothing like a YLG to this little black duck, I have to say - and a few block 'eads, though no juvs.

Not only gull posing though, as on my way out - and after no small amount of teasing on their part - I got this;

1cy and adult male Bullfinches

Not just the gulls who've had breeding success. :)  It's taken me a lot of goes to finally get any of this year's Bullfinches - they're not exactly bold around cameras - and I'm glad I got the comparison shot in doing it.

Today I did things I should have done yesterday, and so was not at 'gwarra where I should have been. Or Prawle.

Ach, what will you do?

Be Seeing You..

No comments:

Post a Comment