26 June, 2018

Secondly; Back To The Sea

Starting back at the beginning.

"Far off in the distant Before, there was The Rain," The grizzled Elder began, centre of all attention for his gaunt, dusty audience. They sat in a ring about the fire, which crackled and spat odd colours and foul smokes from the blasted ground it was laid on. This was a Telling, a way to make sure those who came after remembered what was Before; while it lived in the mind, it still lived, at least in a way, and maybe one day it would live again in the real.
"Water you didn't have to dig for, water you could just drink, straight up, pure and clean and sweet as anything. All you had to do was catch it, it fell right out of the air."
He paused to cough, half from a gust of fumes from the fire, half from the mix of bitter laugh and sob this memory always brought, "Too much of it, at times. So much rain that it ran down the hills and filled the valleys. Rain made the ground into mud, sticky and soft and getting everywhere. Ha, we thought it was a nuisance! The clouds were where it came from; they were made of water then, billowed up from the sea, back when it was blue.."

Please excuse that, the heat does funny things to me.

It has been very hot, very dry - even before all the sunshine - for a long while, and I'm not a Summer person, really. But what can you do?

Stop writing post-apocalyptic drivel and get on with it? Oh, ok.

So, last time we had clouds, we also had at least a little wind, and coming from the WSW or thereabouts. I was coming off a night cycle, so not only missed the earlier and better front, but wasn't able to get to the Nose for first light, though I turned up for 0600, which wasn't that bad.

Things were better than it seemed as I stomped down, perhaps a little disconsolantly, and it turned out to be a worthy High Season* Opener. I watched for five hours before I had to go, as I had Things To Do and very important Things they were.

Perhaps not ideal conditions

The wind picked up and went more SW as time passed, and it tried to rain, though not enough to put my brolly up. But birds did pass. Some pretty nice birds, even.

Hard numbers, peoples;
Stormy 1
Manxie 39
Puffin 3
Bonxie 2
Arctic Skua 1
GND 1 [s/pl, big one, too]
BTD! 1 [s/pl]
C Scoter 140
Sarnie 2
Sanderling 1 [s/pl]
Curlew 1
Med Gull 14
Kittiwake 86/4 [Those 4 N with FF!**]
Gannet 63
Common Gull 2
Fulmar 2/8 [not counting local breeding birds inshore]

Also a count of 637 auks on or on sea near the Ore Stone - most but not all Guillemots, as at least 4 Razorbills around the fold area - and highly territorial Oystercatchers [seeing off GBB, Raven, C Crow, Herring Gull etc - usually from below and behind {ouch}] at their usual spot.

And now for some mostly awful photos of not the best birds [because expecting that would be hopelessly optimistic, now wouldn't it?]

High left

Centre left

Centre low
[resting area]

Centre right
[main area]

Top right
[The Folds - cave just left of shot]

Apologies for awful over-cropping of long-range hand-held max zoom shots.. Counting [and seeing birds facing the rock!] was much easier with the Big Scope.

No more bad Ore Stone pics.

Common Scoter!
Curving off the Manx line to head into the Bay

Closer Scoter

Grey Seal

Inevitable Mallard

"Got any sarnies?"

First proper seawatch since April [oh, the shame], hopefully not too long until the next one....???

Be Seeing You...

[[*To those who say seawatching high season starts in July, or even the August BH, I have one question; When do the WISPs arrive in the Western Approaches? Exactly.]]
[[** Yes, carrying Sandeels - they're breeding somewhere!]]

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