Mothers are great.
"Should I take the kids for a walk so you can have an hour" mine said on the phone about 2pm.
Of course I hummed and harred on the phone as I was loading the scope and bins back in the car.
"I might cut the lawn" I think I may have muttered.
Back at Newbiggin some of the faces had changed, some hadn't. Tim Cleeves was still firmly rooted, Roger Forster had appeared from the hills, still looking like he was awol from the Confederate army and later Mark Winter joined the throng. Even Bob Biggs was crouched in a hobbit like way close to the hide or was it Dave Dack I have trouble with my doubles.
I hadn't missed much apparently. In a lighter wind and mid-afternoon doldrums Shearwater passage had slowed to a standstill. The crack hadn't with such diverse topics as Tufted Puffin, Texas car plates, gripping vicars and inevitably blogs.
It's always nice to know who reads and who doesn't and get some valuable customer feedback. Although as always tongues were firmly in cheek much of the time. The Boulmer Beetle came up with rich and deserved praise for the quality of illustration. In fact it almost became The Boulmer Beetle Appreciation Society until I asked them to wait until I had left as I simply couldn't take anymore. By the time my hour was up they were all close to having individual vignettes tattooed on their left shoulder as permanent tributes. (Mine will be his Sab's Gull as it's rather nice and long been a favourite)
TC gazing far to the south, perhaps longing for the five star comfort of his former residence at Seaton Sluice Watch Tower pulled in one of the 'lazy' shearwaters. I can't help thinking of Balearics this way, every one I've ever seen has the same jizz, fly fifty yards looking like it's just had a big pub lunch and pitch into the sea for a minute before scraping itself back up to lumber another fifty yards or so.
Some small groups of duck livened up proceedings slightly, a single Northern Shoveler prompted some suggestion of suppression from one end of the line and several small parties of Scaup were smart against the dark sea. One group of two male, one female, two male raising the particularly bad one liner "That's a mother in the middle".
With time running out on another session I tried unsuccessfully to conjure up the big one but a couple of close pale third year Arctic Skua were all I could manage.
Another day, another seawatch.
Balearic Shearwater 1 (slowly) north.
Arctic Skua 3 north
Greater Scaup 17 north
Northern Shoveler 1 north
Pink-footed Goose 2 north
Manx Shearwater counted on one hand north.