Sunday, 8 August 2010

National Whale and Dolphin Watch - Day 2

The Safari had an interesting sfternoon in the sunshine yesterday - what a difference a few hours made from freezing wet hell on the Prom in the morning to a pleasant summer's afternoon on the Patch. Loads of butterflies but no White Letter Hairstreaks, and a cracking fly over a the big female Sparrowhawk. Later on it was singular BBP on the water tower and it was still sat up there this morning.
On the way up the hill a Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff 'hweet'ed from a bushy garden (which is far less bushy now as a gardener has been at work for several hours since then) .
After an all to brief cuppa it was out to St Chad's Headland to look for the invisible Harbour Porpoises. The morning had started warm, humid and still on Patch 1 but by the time we got to the beach a cold fresh NWesterly wind had struck up - where we going to get exposure again like last year at this location?
With the banner and scopes set up we started the watch. Over 50 Sandwich Terns went past all going north and with them two Common Terns, didn't see those yesterday. Three Gannets drifted by fairly close in, the first of around two dozen for the morning. On the beach we had a look through the gulls where about 50 were sat dozing as the tide started to flow. One stood out as a little different. Later this one sat aloof from all the others and we couldn't make our mind up what exactly it is. For some reason it doesn't look 100% Lesser Black Backed Gull, there's a well barred tertial in there, and that primary projection doesn't look long enough. But it's nowhere near 'scaly' enough for a Yellow Legged Gull.
News, views and reviews of this bird can be seen here.
A Peregrine flew noth over the sea and a few minutes later a second follwed it, wonder if they were the ones from the water tower going off to hunt waders in the estuary?
Six Manx Shearwaters flew northwards line astern in the far distance, the only ones we were to get during the watch despite conditions looking good for them (JUST found out we might well have missed a Balearic Shearwater too*.
Common Scoters gave a poor showing with only small flocks way out on the horizon. Our younger watcher picked out two high and distant plovers, he was hoping for Grey Plovers as that would have been another lifer for him after yesterday's Kittiwakes, but they were too far out to clinch and could have Golden Plovers although, sadly for him, less likely. No Kittiwakes for him today either.
Another species we didn't see yesterday was Shelduck which were represented by a flock of eight going south.
Last bird of the morning was this adult Yellow Legged Gull which gave us no ID problems.

Not a mammal in sight today, unless you count the Ferret on a lead that a bloke walked past us with.
Did we get exposure? Another hour and we might have done, certainly needed a hearty wwarm drink when we got home and then the sun came out,the wind dropped and the temperature rocketed - it's not fair!!!
A quick visit to Patch 1 gave us a Sparrowhawk and another crying away like a baby in the trees. Another Willow/Chiff hweeted from the isolated scrub at the bottom of the rough field and in the glade there were butterflies a plenty, mainly Speckled Woods and a couple of Peacocks with a Holly Blue thrown in for good measure - one of these in the garden at Base Camp this arvo, which was nice!
* insert sentence of severe expletives of your choice).

Where to next? Patches and still 7 days of NWDW to go although during the week you only have between 12 and 1pm to join us and get a sighting on the recording sheet. A rockpool recording session is happening tomorrow too 1 till 3 if anyone is interested - all welcome.
In the meantime let us know if you missed any megas in your outback we said earlier ^%&^%£££%&"&%^&(^£(£)&(!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monika said...

Balearic shearwater - never heard of that one! I would love to see some shearwaters. It was early September last year when we had some unexpected sooty and pink-footed shearwaters off San Juan Island, so fingers crossed it happens again.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Named after the Balearic Islands of Spain, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza - becoming a real rarity these days.



Phil said...

Sorry you missed the harrier Dave but I reckon they almost always nip down (or is that up)the Wyre. For what its worth I think its LBB.

Monika said...

Funny, I hadn't heard of those regional names before but I was just reading about the Mallorcan midwife toad.