21 August, 2017

Gert, Klaatu barada nikto



Well, I think it's amusing, anyway.

Ok, so, another ex-hurricane, another seawatch*. This one was annoyingly calm [for an ex-hurricane**], mostly not that warm [again, for an ex-hurricane supposedly full of tropical air], and not that rain-filled [yeah, you get the point].

But not empty of birds. With a Brown Booby flying ahead of it [how's that for a harbinger??], there was definite promise of something. Maybe even one of those overdue pteros? Just think of it; Black-capped... Cahow.. Trindade......  ::Drools::

Ahem again.

Yeah, so the weather didn't start great, but the forecast said 'get there late' [clearly never hit anyone in Baltimore..] and so I did. Getting there, at the gate I met a Devon Birder who shall remain nameless and who unfortunately for him was pretty much birdless - not even a Manxie! - and if you're reading this, I advise you to stop while you can, as this post may cause gnawing of tripod legs....

It was gunky, and the wind was decent, just about strong, and almost immediately kicked to S, pushing SSE, though only with drizzle, so I beasted it out on The Steps. It soon went more to SSW, then eventually [and with a little actual rain!] to SW. Vis eventually picked out to 'past Berry Head' but was mostly ~1km, so pretty hot for birds! Just a pity there wasn't a slick, as it could have been epic.

Not bad..

There were birds. Lots of Kittiwakes! Plenty of young ones, too, though I shamefully didn't get a proper ratio, as I was too busy clicking. Clicking? Oh yes; 480 in 3.5 hours. They were even roosting!

With a nice LBB

All over the Ore Stone ledges

Also rafting

In the same time; 257 / 4 Gannets, 32 Fulmars, and.. 28 Manxies. What?? Yes, more Fulmars than Manxies in August, what is the world coming to..
Even better and weirder [as for most of the watch they were well ahead of their relatives];  27 Balearics! Including a flock of 7. I won't mention the Grea- oops. o;)

Passing with varying degrees of foraging [scragging poor Kittiwakes counts for skuas]; 5 storm petrels and 14 skuas; the latter being 2 Pomarine, 2 Bonxie, 10 Arctic.

The yacht 'Shearwater'

Annnd.. That blob to the right of the mast top? That's an Arctic Skua!! Looked like a 1s intermediate morph. It spent a while soaring with a large group of Kitts [I don't think they were amused; a couple of Kitts and a Gannet actually mobbed the skua...!! Never seen that before.], so I figured it was worth a try. Took six shots [plus as many again which refused to focus] and.. Yay. Sort of. Even feeling cynical, you can see it's got too much out the back to be a gull, right?
I can't believe I hit it, they're at Ore Stone range - about 900m!!

Also 8 Arctic Tern, 7 Common Tern, plus a flock of about 35 commic which vanished into the gunk before I could get a decent look at them [I suspect they were most/all Common, though]. 7 Common Scoter, 3 Dunlin, various gulls...

It was much better than I expected, there's clearly still lots to eat out there. :)

Target practice [note prim moult]

More target practice
[look at that gunk.. :) ]

And you can't escape the horrible gulls, oh no;


Another rarity was this;


You do not see many trims about the place.

Let us for once end upon a happy sight;


Everybody loves Blue Tits!

[Ok, maybe not ringers... ;) ]

Be Seeing You..

[[*The last might actually be that hot date with Bertha, but never mind, eh?]]
[[**So pretty darn windy for normal weather, but we're belabouring a point, here...]]

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