Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wind in the willows

The Safari approached today with some trepidation as the forecast for tonight’s strong winds has been revised to gusts of 80mph. That’s a bit on the breezy side!

Date Time Temp Wind Dir Speed Gust Visibility
Thu 11 Nov 1500 10 °C SW 36 mph 54 mph Very Good
1800 11 °C WSW 45 mph 66 mph Good
2100 11 °C WSW 53 mph 80 mph Excellent
Fri 12 Nov 0000 11 °C W 50 mph 75 mph Excellent
0300 11 °C W 47 mph 70 mph Excellent
0600 10 °C W 44 mph 66 mph Excellent
0900 10 °C W 39 mph 58 mph Excellent
1200 10 °C W 35 mph 54 mph Excellent
1500 10 °C WSW 31 mph 46 mph Excellent
1800 10 °C WSW 25 mph

Watched the (local) news last night and couldn’t believe what we saw – there is a Yankee-doodle Pied Billed Grebe on a reservoir not too far away, a good bird for this area but one we are unlikely to go and see (saw the 1997 one up the road – was it that long ago?). Anyway the good old BBC sent a film crew up there to do a report and interview some of the birders which they did reasonably well but then for the closing comments the ‘piece de la resistance’! The flamin reporter was stood round the FRONT of the hide...and after the risk we took with the drug-crazed chavs the other day we just hope said numpties weren’t watching...nice one Beeb!
No Patch 1 safari this morning, we were allowed a lie in after a dog-disturbed night – do wish big Frank wouldn’t scavenge lordy knows what when he’s out on his walks!!! Whatever it was had given him ‘serious bowel problems’ at regular intervals throughout the small hours
The tide had dropped enough so that about half the beach was uncovered at Patch 2 but little was taking advantage of what was on offer, or there wasn’t much on offer to be taken advantage of.
The sum total was only 15 Oystercatchers, 10 Sanderlings, nine Redshanks and a lone Turnstone.
Getting back to the office as the rain started the male Pied Wagtail flew across the lawns, looks like he’s taken up residence here for the winter. Got to be a photo opportunity with him one of these days.
At lunchtime we received a short email from our contact on the north east (leeward) side of the Isle of Man which read “Are you battening down the hatches? We're expecting force 11 tonight and the bay is full of ships taking shelter, eek!” We liked the ‘eek’!
So there was nothing for it but to venture, telescope in hand, into the increasingly wild weather. Thankfully it was fairly warm.

The wind was already gusting storm force 8/9 and the waves on the other side of the sea wall were about 6 – 10 feet high (2 – 3m), huge out on the horizon. We could feel the thud of the waves as they broke at the base of the wall – we were glad it’s there and very substantial at that. Despite it being well over an hour before high tide the splash from the waves was coming over the top and there were blobs foam blowing all over the place – good job it wasn’t like this earlier in the week when the tide was over a metre higher than today!
Did we see anything? Viewing was difficult to say the least. When you can lose a bird as big as a Great Black Backed Gull in the troughs for ¾ of a mile you know you’re probably not going to see much. A few Common Scoters buzzed here and there – are they really going to sit it out offshore all night? – Much respect to them, they are tough little hombrés.
Where to next? Might be back tomorrow wind permitting.

In the meantime let us know if there's a breeze whipping up in your outback.


Monika said...

Okay, your wind certainly trumps our paltry 50 mph, but I'm sure glad we don't get breezes like that here on my houseboat!

If you're able to get out after the storm passes maybe some birds will still be hanging out recovering within scoping distance?

I love that photo by the way, really captures the spirit of it all.

cliff said...

The forecasters seem to have got those wind speeds right Dave.
What a night that was, I've not slept since 3am so am glad I'm off work today. Luckily we've only lost one fence panel which is in my neighbours garden - I daren't try & pick it up to put it back just yet as I may finish up doing a Mary Poppins.