Having so far failed to add Sooty Shearwater to the Newbiggin Year List, this morning's brisk northerly and rain was too inviting to turn down. With the school run forcing a post-nine start i figured there would be little hope of one of the two dry seats in the house so I opted for Plan B.
Rather than head round to the traditional northern sea-watch at Church Point, I hunkered down behind the cemetery wall some 40m south and 20m further inland. Armed with a large golf umbrella (thanks Dad) my field of view was restricted to the 'southern' section of sea.
I managed two hours with a firm grip on the umbrella with one hand, not a classic day but enjoyable despite the weather and two new birds for the Newbiggin Year List.
Pick of the bunch was a juvenile Long-tailed Skua that pottered north over the rocks just 50m away. Three Sooty Shearwaters ended this year's long wait; all three were within 2-300m range too. Manx Shearwaters totalled 40 in the 2 hours. A single Great Skua lumbered north. A few Wigeon moving included one small group that had two female/juvenile Pintail tagging along at the back (2nd tick).
Just before I left a dozen Pale-bellied Brents came almost straight in to the Point and may have ended up in the north bay. There was also a Wheatear kicking about the rocks.
Afterwards a bit of grilling the gulls in the fields west of Woodhorn Flashes and north of QEII produced 41 Mediterranean Gulls, a decent 480+ Great Black-backed Gulls and an interesting juvenile, perhaps more on that later.