Gone this morning were the happy smiling faces at the school gate, instead furrowed brows and vexed looks as the rain and wind swirled the first autumn leaves around booted feet. I was perhaps the only one smiling brightly in the full knowledge I'd soon be staring into the teeth of the gale and enjoying some great seabirds.
By the time I arrived JGS, DD and AA had already knotched up several Long-tailed Skuas and some incredible flocks of Bonxie, one of 14 and another 11 strong. Only DD remained until 11:00 I was then joined by IK for the last hour until midday.
The Great Skua movement was huge, I added 50 to the earlier total by the time I knocked off including a flock of 10. Better still were three rakish juvenile Long-tailed Skuas and two juvenile Pomarine Skuas, all deliciously close over the breakers. Bird of the morning for me was a single Leach's Petrel, fairly close in that showed around 5-6 times before disappearing into the huge almost bottomless troughs between waves. Only the second county Leach's I've ever had alive!
Supporting cast included a few Sooty & Manx Shearwaters, 2 Blue Fulmars, Velvet Scoter, summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver, several small groups of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a single Shoveler and a drake Pochard ( the latter a bit if a rare on a sea-watch).
Passerines in a short spell on the golf course were sparse this afternoon but there's always tomorrow...