15 August, 2019

Seawatching 2.0 Pt. 1, Hurricane Season??

Once again, a lovely front picked work time to come through. This time I was very determined to get on it. So, kit ready I hit it right after work on Friday afternoon.

The Nose felt like hurricane season [you may have guessed that from the title]; very warm, very humid, and blowing a hoolie! The wind was SSE with gusts getting well past SE and it was very much look out at LookOut. Good news, as the Council have sent their chainsaw-wielding loony to clear the paths, so you're not fighting your way though lashing sharp things, which is kind on the kit. Also kind on me, as it was positively sunny as I tried hard not to leg it down..

With no chance of The Steps [SSE wind would blow you away], and not wanting to risk the TSWS, I cast about and noticed a patch of near calm in the lee of The Wall [that's the line of spoil Wall, not the rock face access point to the Quarry Wall, btw]. I plonked down  on the off chance, as it has a much better field of view than the Tower [which needs more attention from the c-wl to make it viable], though with less shelter.

Anyways, I had some shelter from the wind, something to lean my bumbleshoot against [this would prove vital], and a view with the Ore Stone in the middle. Right;

Lead Stone, Ore Stone,
blue skies!

Hmm, shades on, legs stretched out, nothing but yachts to look at? [Don't look too close at the sea state] Well.....

Squall hits like a train

Appearances very deceptive; it was proper seawatch weather!

Spot the shearwater!
ID the shearwater!!


Gannet in the same pose but closer to

Much closer.

Why can't the fancy birds do this?

Not quite what I meant...

While the sunshine wasn't promising, it quickly went away; with bands of squally rain and gunk and a very variably gusty wind teasing and indeed shoving my scope - usually at the least convenient moment, like while I'm on a [Cut].. :(  - making life interesting.

So, some numbers in four hours watching;  55 Balearics, 215 Manxies, 4 Sooties [including 2 together], a Long-tailed Skua [picked up by the Boss et al at Berry Head 8 minutes after I lost it], 3 Commic Terns [probably Common]*, 332 Gannet, 37 Fulmar, 27 Kittiwake, a YLG - more than once but looked like the same bird doing loops - a Common Gull and 3 Med Gulls [all juvs] and 9 LBBs

[*Yup, only 3 terns and no auks at all.]

Some interesting numbers there, quite likely due to being late to the party and suffering from variable view - it was either multi-kilometre or bins only visibility.. And that while holding on hard to the brolly!

No cetaceans, despite keeping an eye out specially, but with decent sized seas this ain't a surprise, really.

The differences between this and the following morning will become apparent in my next post.

Also of note, an amazing 19, yes 19 Painted Ladies flushed off the path on my way down. Here's one;

Spot the Painted Lady

Coming up, Part 2, where we see more pictures of birds than we tell about. [This makes sense in my head, at least]

Be Seeing You...

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