Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Just how many?

The Safari can report that the Peregrine was on the tower this morning, seen through the lashing rain from the bedroom window rather than the pavement below...thank goodness; that rain was heavy!!!
By the time we’d got to patch 2 the rain had stopped and conditions for viewing were perfect. Grey sky, good light and a mirror calm sea with no swell what so ever.
The tide was well out and the fishermen were out in force denuding the beach of its Lugworms. Beyond them two Grey Seals bobbed about very close together, it’s not often we see them associating with one another. A third was way out.
The calm sea revealed the huge amount of litter floating about out there – a disgrace – amongst the carrier bags and pop bottles were a large number of variously sized pieces of driftwood. One looked a bit like a swimming Red Deer stag and another rather Loch Ness Monstery, this one had a tern perched on each of its two humps.
Not far off the end of the outfall pipe a flock of six Eiders dived in unison but the main interest lay to the north west and out towards the horizon. A long line of Common Scoters was noted and concentrating on them it was evident that there were a lot – this line stretched seemingly for miles! We set about counting them and soon got to 3000 and a quick scan along the rest of the line suggested we were only half way through the flock. So we continued and came up with a conservative estimate of 7,500; the tail end of the flock disappeared into the murky dark grey gloom on the horizon. Further to the left sat another flock of about 300. We wouldn’t be surprised if there were over 10,000 in total...that’s a lot of birds and probably our biggest count ever.
Oh, and our solitary male was still sat in his usual place just offshore...7,801 - a real Billy No Mates if ever there was one.
By lunchtime there were very few to be seen. Very few of anything apart from gulls and even more marine litter – it was everywhere and looking like everything under the sun. The three Grey Seals were still present and another chunk of driftwood was adorned by a resting tern.
One of the fishermen caught a Lesser Weaver while we were there; a sneaky sharp spined little fish that buries itself in the sand and waits for you to stand on it. Not only are the spines sharp but they are poisonous too...one for our groups to be aware of when out rockpooling.
A few Sandwich Terns flew by as did an unseen Curlew, we tried the whistling trick but it didn't respond.
Today’s rockpooling group found all the usual suspects including some very sizeable Common Prawns. Their favourite was the Common Starfish we found in a higher pool for them.

Where to next? Bck on the beach tomorrow with the first of our National Marine Week events.

In the meantime let us know who's whistling at what in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Your Common Scoter count is amazing Dave, how fantastic. Makes me wonder, what does Blackpool have more of, Common Scoters or common scroats, sadly I suspect it's the latter.