My last weekend of the season at the Living Seas Centre coincided with some blustery northerlies, and thankfully, I was able to capitalise on some quality time with the new Harpia and the rolling seas off South Landing. Saturday was a brutal day for a bioblitz, with plunging temperatures and heavy, wintry showers, but the team bravely soldiered on - and luckily for me, I was able to add my avian contributions from the comfort of the hide (my car), with an entertaining three hours straight, from 1120hrs.
|The view from the hide at low tide....|
Highlights included Red-necked Grebe, Little Auk, Great Northern Diver, Pomarine Skua, eight Scaup, single Sooty and Manx Shearwaters, four Pintail and plenty more wildfowl on the move; in the end I logged 55 bird species from the beach for the bioblitz, a pleasingly high return.
|.... and the 'hide'|
Incoming passage was a feature of the day, too, with a good haul of thrushes, Skylarks and especially Bramblings; however, the shock of the day - and in, truth, perhaps the whole migration season - came when I was closing up the LSC as the light outside faded. Glancing out of the window as I lowered a shutter, I noticed a Hooded Crow heading north and inland - a decent record, and worthy of a quick dash out of the back door, grabbing the camera on the way. Happily I managed to catch it as it disappeared, at which point I glanced back out towards the sea - to find a three, then a four and then a two heading the same way.....
|The first of ten Hooded Crows....|
To give a little context, Hooded Crow is by no means an easy bird to get on the head annually, and up the road in Filey, after seven years of patch birding (five of them hardcore), I managed a grand total of two. I'm not sure if it's unprecedented or not, but of all the things I'm on the lookout for in October here on the coast, double figure Hooded Crow counts while locking up my workplace is not one of them.....
|... including this flock of three|
Sunday looked even better, with more chance of displaced seabirds battling north (and via the south side of the headland) into the wind after yesterday's initial blow; hence I was down at the foot of the slope for shortly after first light, giving me a good two and a half hours before opening up... and I managed a guilt-free lunch hour from around 1110, too, meaning a combined total of almost four hours seawatching in the morning.
Which included eastbound passage of no fewer than 117 Little Auks, 252 Common Scoters, a Black Guillemot, two Long-tailed Ducks, a Velvet Scoter, a Scaup, a Black-throated Diver, four Great Northern Divers, 15 Goldeneye, eight Pomarine Skuas, a Sooty and a few Manxies, a Goosander and few Mergansers, and plenty more - quality stuff.... inbound migration continued throughout the day, the highlight being a Hawfinch low and north over the LSC, a Little Auk low and north over the car park and past the office, lots of thrushes and finches, and (yet) another Hooded Crow. Not a bad last LSC weekend at all - and the next day or two would get better still....