Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Blowy Birsay

It was still blowing this morning and despite oversleeping there was still time for an hour or so seawatching as I had a training event to attend that didn't start until 9. The number of Fulmar passing west close in was so impressive, nearly one a second on average so in excess of 2,700 an hour going west with not one east in the sample count. Gannets were also motoring with about 380 an hour west. The stars of the show were 4 Sooty and 6 Manx Shearwaters all close enough and all heading west. There was a possible storm petrel as well but best forgotten as it was just glimpsed to disappear in a trough never, of course, to reappear. Guillemots and Razorbills were also trickling west. Three small flocks of Teal were seen, 6, 6 9 and it is possible more were missed as these were over the beach and a beautiful pale phase adult Arctic Skua. 15 Bonxie were seen to go west in the hour but this would be an unreliable count for a total as many of these cut in too close to be seen with the scope.

Nipping back to Birsay briefly this evening in the sunshine a very close Sooty skirted the Brough as I got out of the car but otherwise it was much quieter with just a single of each Puffin and Red-throated Diver and Fulmar going west at 550 an hour and east at 130 an hour (east counts from the Brough car park are not a reliable indicator of total passage though as they get "pushed out" by the Brough itself). The main purpose of this evening's visit to look for waders was abandoned due to the state of the tide and the birds being flushed by people.

If I've the energy an early morning trip to Mill Sand may be called for tomorrow (another meeting in Kirkwall provides the opportunity) as a Yank Goldie was suspected today. Which reminds me one of my flocks of Teal this morning had an unidentified plover leading them, mmmm.

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