Friday, 17 April 2009

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside.


Oh I do like to be beside the seaside,I do like to be beside the sea,I do like to stroll along the prom, prom, prom,Where the brassbands playTiddley-om-pom-pom!


It's little known that the author of this popular Music Hall song John A Glover-Kind was a birder. Not only that but he wrote the lyrics during a marathon seawatching session one Spring day on the West Coast. Playing around with the words he simply couldn't get a suitable rhyme for the word prom until he caught site of two large adult Skuas and in his excitement shouted out "Pom, Pom" to alert his fellow seawatchers.
Friday normally means Craster and Kippers, a quiet morning gave me the opportunity to park up for 45 minutes and have a seawatch. I wasn't expecting much but there was good numbers of Gannets and Fulmars and within five minutes two single Great Skua or Bonxies came powering through. Bonxies just demand respect, no matter what the weather they don't seem to break sweat. They can be flying into a force nine gale and still move in a straight line not deviating from their chosen route and making it look easy. None of that virtually upside down ducking and diving Fulmar crap for Bonxies, just get where their going in as direct a manner as possible.

Six Red-Throated Diver and single Sandwich Tern and Common Scoter provided a supporting cast along with steady north passage of Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake & Guillemot.

I tried again tonight off Foxton/Boulmer just after six and again picked up a Bonxie about 1 mile out, this time diving and chasing a Herring Gull Larus argenteus before picking up a steady low line that saw it come in to within 50m offshore before disappearing around the point. Looking dark brown with big white wing flashes on the primaries it briefly moved through a patch of sunlight and changed colour to a paler 'ginger biscuit' look.

Pumped now so I might do an early morning at Newbiggin tomorrow to see if I can pick up some other stuff, it's like nicotine this seawatching keeps dragging you back into it's grasp.
image courtesy 7 copyright Petur Gauti

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

An interesting read the smell of those kippers mmmmm, So do these skua have roman strategy tendencys of straight lines to get where there going. Nicotine is a powerfull drug and doing what you like best is just as powerfull.

Alan Tilmouth said...

Don't it lingers in my car for hours after every collection. I think the urge to breed is what drives the Skuas but they are such powerful birds that they can cope with most extremes of weather.