14 August, 2017

Busy Staying Put

Saturday followed some more seawatchy weather, so I couldn't resist the Nose first thing.

Unfortunately, the weather could. I was determined to try anyway, but with time pressing and, well, the sun shining, I didn't bother to go the whole way down, and plonked onto the Sunrise Bench instead. The fact I could even sit there without being blown off tells you volumes about how unlikely it was looking..
The extra height and southerly view came in handy, however, as the action was in the Bay and was definitely exciting! I had stuck some laundry on [have I mentioned enough times that it wasn't looking good?] and it was only needing to get back to it before it congealed in the machine that dragged me away. Anyways, to the birds;

A passage of Gannets [109] went unmolested towards feeding groups in said bay, but the Kittiwakes [132] trying the same suffered repeatedly from the attentions of skuas. I counted 7 Arctics and a Pom - a mix of adults and immatures [one very nice 3cy light Arctic, for example] - with other gulls including passing LBB, BHG, Med and so on..
They were well south, much too far for even me to try photos, so you're spared that. Not that you don't get some pictures, as we have a visitor, who arrived last week and at the time of writing is still hanging about..

'Arctic Discoverer'

So the view from the Nose is now;

The third island..

Bloomin' big shear repellant.. :(

The sunshine did bring out a few land birds, and while exchanging chacks with a bevvy of Blackcaps around the Entrance Bushes, one got a little too casual;

Caught mid- 'Chack!'

Yes, those pale blurs are intervening vegetation, and still my camera locked on! I'm a little shocked, I have to say.. :)

After wrestling the washing, and a quick detour to take care of some business, it was on to the Exe, in search of some proper conventional birding. Ie. the lovely juv. White-winged Black Tern that's been hanging about.

After trying Powderham Crossing - and seeing yes it's there but waaaaay down river - I found some Familiar Faces at Cockwood Crossing, and many hours of fun followed.

I do rather enjoy the crossings; having played Real Frogger to get there, every train comes past in a true display of unstoppable power. It is definitely hard core birding to be stood on a little platform above the waves when a big train comes through very fast less than 15' behind you - and level with you - so you have to hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen while you don't even look away from your scope. Wooooh...

The tern eventually showed well - if in mid-river - before scarpering again, though nowhere near as close as any of us desired. "At least we can tick it off" was said. [Oh dear, but true] We watched it for maybe 20 minutes, feeding off on its own, then plonking down with Commons and a Sarnie. Like many birds, very obvious when you actually got on it: the flight action* was the give away at any angle, then you saw that big white bum. Sat down, it had a very white breast/neck in the sun, with the strong contrast to the dark mantle. Indeed, the dark square/white square of the body and tail against the silvery wings was very obvious in flight, even in a big group of mixed age terns.

Line of terns.
Commons, a Sandwich, and a White-winged Black.

Yes, yes, blobs, but regardez; Ignoring the gulls, there is a line of terns there, ok? The Sandwich stands out big and pale and obvious, right? The rest are Common, except for one which is clearly smaller and darker, [It's right of the Sarnie], and that's the WWB. Truly. I have 3 witnesses of professedly good character who were beside me at the time.

Some terns were better-behaved;

Nothing like being a kilometer closer..

A whole bunch of terns were on display, including Little and Arctic. As the tide dropped, the expected waders** were about, many flying past for our amusement [including counted groups of; 15 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 21 Redshank, and ohthat'salotof Curlews], while most just foraged here, there, and everywhere. Well, until getting turfed off by bait diggers, anglers, wanderers with sticks, and of course, the power boats, water skis, inflatable towed things [assorted], kite surfers, kayakers, and all the other humans who think they belong on the Exe. Ho hum..

The resident Slav eventually got in on the fun, too - and showed the others how you pose for birders;

Keeping the plumes as long as it can.

I've got to say I agree with the moult strategy. The Slav was very much in 'now you see me..' mood, sometimes popping up right in front, then vanishing for long periods. Always a pleasure, though.

Be Seeing You..

[[*It flew like a Leach's Petrel. ;) ]]
[[** ::Big breath:: Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher.. ::gasp:: ]]

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