Go out in the North Sea in December.
I've spent the last couple of days in the company of Martin Kitching & Ross Ahmed conducting some surveys along transect lines in the North Sea off the Northumberland Coast.
Yesterday was a bright day with a light swell for December and perfect viewing conditions till late afternoon fog descended. Today was a little different, more cloud cover and a much bigger sea made for more challenging conditions.
Statistically speaking what we have done so far is a drop in the ocean if you'll excuse the pun but it has been interesting to note that the majority, perhaps 90%, of the birds we have seen have been of two species Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull and the majority of these were in areas that contained trawlers. No real surprises, a few Fulmar, Guillemot and the odd Razorbill. We recorded Atlantic Puffin on both days but only a handful, Northern Gannet on Friday, again only a couple of birds. Today we found 0.5% of the British wintering population of Little Gull, five birds in total, interesting that all these were immature birds. I suspect that next week's birding in Southern Spain might be slightly more productive and a tad warmer.