Friday, July 20, 2012

The sea provides

19th July: With a blustery north-westerly throughout, pretty much all day staring at the waves was a constant pleasure. First up, monitoring the bay from early on - a dark morph Arctic Skua heading south, a good trickle of Manx Shearwaters heading north (all skirting the Brigg) and, most impressively, a silver-and-chocolate Sooty Shearwater, direct from the southern oceans and the first of the year, all keeping interest up throughout the morning.

Velvet Scoter 

And then as luck would have it, my time was my own from mid-afternoon, and so out onto the Brigg for a few hours seawatching. A half hour walk from the front door, via the beach, the rocky southern flank of the Brigg and into the hide (I know, what a commute) just in time to beat the incoming tide, and birds were on the move from the start.


 Sandwich Tern

With the waves smashing dramatically against the disappearing rocky shelves of the outer Brigg and a swell that made dry land especially precious, movements were clearly underway and there were plenty of gems in amongst the throngs of commoner seabirds.


The highlights included two Sooty Shearwaters, close in and gliding into the wind, over seventy Manxies, a Velvet Scoter, an adult summer Little Gull in with a Kittiwake feeding frenzy, and an impressive northbound movement of 38 Arctic Terns.

female Eider

Back-up was provided by small numbers of Teal, Whimbrels, Common and Sandwich Terns, Common Scoters, and on the Brigg, a skittish Sanderling, four Turnstones and Common Sandpiper  in  amongst the seals, Shags and Oystercatchers.


Teal heading north

Highly entertaining, and doubtless a modest cast compared with upcoming sessions over the next few weeks. Happy days.

young male Eider - semi-resident on the Brigg