30 August, 2019

Seawatching 2.0 Pt. 3; It's Raining Sideways

In which we skip forward a week [from the last Seawatch], to find another Friday, another frontal system, and another trip to the Nose. [Oh shock]

Having gone over to Nights, I was able to get there in the morning, though not in great expectations, with the weather not due to arrive until 10-ish. [It tends to be a lot better for birds if they can be blown close to land under cover of darkness]

The weather was early, I was later than I intended [changeover week does hit a bit hard], and then I developed technical issues, so it was only 6 hours at the Nose instead of ten or so. But never mind, it was all good fun. :)

This not least due to my bumbleshoot. A sometimes overlooked or at least underestimated piece of seawatching equipment, trust me, you need a good one. I've had brollies destroyed or just plain ripped out of my hands and sent flying into the sea before, which perhaps explains my investing in an allegedly carbon fibre storm-proof - if horrific to look at - Thing. It's only partly storm-proof, I having by now repaired about half the storm flaps [each individually sprung {get me} and so requiring some interesting sewing when they break], but it's never inverted, and while I have almost been carried away by it, it's taken a lot of abuse. It gets wedged into the scenery [ie rock] to keep it stable. Ouch.

Yes, as you may have guessed, it rained quite a lot and the wind was feeling quite frisky. The brave [insane? I at least had a good reason to be there] mundanes who wandered past at the Nose were all, despite proper coats, utterly soaked. I got a bit damp about the hat band [it's still not properly waterproof yet] from cumulative light stuff.

All that rain got in the way of seeing things for long spells, but then maybe things weren't moving? [Ok, they were, at least to an extent]

And he opens up with a gull....

Not the sharpest, or indeed best of angles, or indeed the clearest of individuals, but you use what flies in range and your camera will work for [yup, still playing the 'you press the button all you want, I'm doing nooooothing!' game...]

We can point [working up] the long pointed hand, the small but visible inner primary window, the buff 'landing light', the very dark secondaries, the mostly un-notched greater secondary coverts, the plain dark tertials, the contrast of tail band [bad angle, there] and white rump, the pale head with dark eye mask, the chunky 'saawn-off' looking bill, and are those 2nd gen feathers in there..??

Here's an ID challenge for you!

I was tracking a moderately close Arctic Skua, trying to get it in a decent picture, and lo and behold...

But wait, aren't those both skuas? And if so, which one's the Arctic and wtf is the other one????
[Yes, really. Genuine challenge: Is the right one a dinky Arctic and the left a great big ??, or is the left a hefty Arctic and the right a..??]

Answers on a comment;

And you thought the last one was bad...

Yes, there is a bird in there, no it's not a Gannet or any gull sp.

Itsa Gannet
That's a Gannet. :)

Itsa gull

Itsanother gull

Well, this has wandered all over the place. Not helped by being written over weeks, plural.

So, let's grab the notebook and put some numbers up, then call it a day, yes?

::Wanders off to fetch it::


Ooh, yes hourly totals for common spp.! [Sometimes I do things vaguely correctly]
Gannet;       91  58  99  43  130  120
Kittiwake;   49  39  18   2   32   15
Manxie;      74  43  31  11   25   85

If you can't be bothered to add them up, that's 541 G, 155 K, and 269 M

A Puffin was the only auk. A Pom [juv], a Bonxie, and 3 Arctics were the skuas. 32+ Commic*, 3 Sarnie and a Black were the terns. 18 Balearics, 100 Fulmars [actually counted them this time]. 7 Meds, 5 LBBs, a BHG and a Common the passing gulls. Of note, a lone Stormie at 1412

[*Almost certainly all Common]

It was quite fun, though I gave up due to sunshine and no birds, then got BLEEEPed on as I got back to IMD; proper hard squall, too :(. Pesky weather...

Anyways, c'est ca.

Be Seeing You...

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