Saturday, 25 August 2012

Damp Sparks

Several hours dodging showers whilst trying to make the most of the time in the field this morning produced a few sparks but the fire never got going. Visibility was poor first thing in the rain and the sea was flat calm, hardly the most promising set of conditions for a sea-watch. A single juvenile Black Tern was the highlight of the session, tracking north, it lingered long enough to make a single dip onto the sea before continuing its journey. Two Sooty Shearwaters including a nice close individual less than 100m out made up half the shearwater contingent with two Manx Shearwaters that passed north together a little later. At least four Arctic Skuas were noted, all close over or just off the point. Between times the good-sized flocks of Kittiwakes offered plenty of work scanning for Sab's as several hundred moved south over two hours.

Good numbers of waders on the move as is to be expected, nine Whimbrels noisily overhead not long before I left the highlight. Later up at Beacon Point I spent some time working through the high tide wader roost, several Knot most in winter garb now; bright white Sanderlings standing out against the dark rocks. Over 200 Golden Plovers provided hope, but as is so often the case failed to deliver. Even the arrival of the talismanic JGS couldn't whistle up the rare.

Between times a juvenile Whinchat was possibly the same bird from Thursday now out across the Moor in the juncus. Two Wheatears were around Beacon Point as were two Common Sandpipers, the latter seemingly departing south in typically noisy fashion. Two Arctic Skuas an intermediate adult and a dark individual lingered just offshore.

I managed to slip a visit to Cresswell in the middle of all that, 'the' Spoonbill still present along with 'the' Long-tailed Duck. In keeping with other sites along the east coast Snipe numbers were noticeable indicating a return to the coast, I counted 28 north of the causeway but more were in the field with the Lapwing flock west of the hide. A single Wheatear here too as well as a Yellow Wagtail. Long overdue this year, ADMc picked out a Water Rail just before I left providing my second county year-tick of the day.

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