The Safari foolishly set out on safari today and came back soaked to the bone thinking that St Swithin chap and his Jet Stream Theory might just be on to something. If he's right then there's only 39 days of this dire weather left to look forward to. If this awful wet and windy weather continues we'll have to be putting the heating back on - in SUMMER!
So were did we get to. We enjoyed a hearty Sunday breakfast, involving half a pig and lashings of brown sauce, listening to the rain driving against the window thinking we're staying inside today. But as the washing up was being done (= loading the dishwasher) the clouds thinned and it brightened up a bit. So images of dropped migrants or moving seabirds came into our head and headed for the cliffs. Only spitting with rain and the wind at our backs wasn't cold; time to grill the rocks below. Nothing, but it's early days. Loads of gulls along the low tide line picking at what's been left behind by the receding waters, a thousand or so and almost all were Herring Gulls, just a dozen or so Lesser Black Backs and Black Headeds. No Great Black Backs this morning. In a minor break in the weather the scope picked up somewhere in the region of 30 - 50 Common Scoters sat oin the sea in the distance. No chance of picking out the Velvet at that range, which MIGHT have hung around the bay over the last month or so being seen off Walney and Hilbre Islands a few weeks ago - or were there more than one?
Still nothing doing on the rocks of Chat Alley, nothing been dropped by the rain at all - we were hoping for an early Stonechat or perhaps a Wheatear. The notebook still hadn't left the pocket yet!
On reaching Pipit Slab at the far end of the walk a fierce squall blew in and we had to take shelter. Scoping the sea was pointless as we could only see a few rollers (waves not birds!) beyond the beach; the cloud was thick, low and close. There could have been anything out there. Recently there have been lots a Little Terns, some Little Gulls and the odd Storm Petrel in the bay but today there could have been hundreds of Stormies, a handful of Swinhoe's, a Soft Plumaged Petrel or two - perhaps even a Hard Plumaged Petrel but we were never going to see any of them.
The rain drove down in almost horizontal waves and it was time to walk the mile and a half back to the Land Rover, not a prospect we were relishing. However as we were bemoaning the fact we'd been daft and left the comfort of Base Camp one bloke was on the beach collecting snapped fishing tackle, don't know if it was his from last night, he was after freebies or just doing every one a service and clearing up lost hooks, another guy was way out on the tide line digging Lugworms even more exposed to the elements out there than we were - he must have been beyond totally drenched.
Had we bothered to get the notebook out of the pocket three Oystercatchers might have been written in to if if the pages had survived the rain and not turned to mush. If you put the blogger spell check on badly spelt Oystercatcher it comes up with Ostrich! So you nearly had three Ostriches flying along the beach - now that WOULD have been something to put in the notebook!!!
By now the optics were covered in drips and the waterproof coat and boots were showing it was time for a respray. Still no sign of dropped migrants on the rocks. But you nearly got some film of a rock doing a pee - yes a peeing rock! "Never seen owt like it in me life guv but sure as eggs is eggs that's what it was". Trouble is by the time we'd extracted the camera from its dry hiding place under a multitude of clothing the 'bladder' had run dry so no peeing rock for you - was fun though.
Soaked to the skin we got back to the Land Rover and headed home were we got even wetter - in a nice hot bath!
Where to next? Well we were supposed to be having a summery family picnic today and that might still happen. We'll be like the flat hat and cauliflower brigade who drive to the countryside at no miles an hour and sit in, or next to, their cars having tea and a bun...until that happens Wifey's is blasting out some classic Green Day on her karaoke...When September Ends - epic tune done damn well. Britain might have a bit of talent after all!
In the meantime have there been anything like Hard Plumaged Petrels passing through your outback. We'll scream blue murder if they'd had some at Rossall Point up the road this morning.
More news later if we get out