Friday, 9 November 2012

Nanny Pom

With the morning free I decided to head off to the Long Nanny to try and catch up with the Long-tailed Dowitcher found by Colin Bradshaw and Jimmy Steele. Unsurprisingly the short journey up produced some Waxwings with 15 on wires on the east side of the A1 at Alnwick.

A strong westerly to blow me through the dune-flats from the south end with only a Kestrel sticking a head above the parapet. No sign of the dowitcher on first pass I began to look east through gulls on the burn and the beach, a single Grey Plover and five Ringed Plovers also present. A dark bird beside a Black-headed Gull corpse caught my eye on a bend in the burn.Crouched low tearing at the fresh-looking carcass was a skua. A quick bit of repositioning and I was looking at a rather tatty looking Pomarine Skua. Remnants of tail feathers were still noticeable when it stood to gain purchase to rip a morsel of flesh from the carcass but it was in heavy moult and the general appearance of the cap, faded. brownish not full along with some pale mantle streaking and a few black spots on the breast and belly suggested it wasn't a full adult. Further look at the images suggest some light marks to the auxiliaries and after a refresh with Klaus & Hans I'm fairly comfortable with a 3rd-winter tag. They're always far easier to age on a 30second flyby for some reason....

Further searching for the dowitcher produced a blank other than a Curlew count of 160 and 13 Whooper Swans flying over. Before I knew it it was time to head home.

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