The Safari dodged the torrential hail showers to get a ten minute watch over the se wall. Even four hours before high tide the water was well up the beach driven by a force 8 sou’wester. The tumbling waves were already huge, so much so that it was several minutes before we found the first of not so many Common Scoters. A dozen or more Kittiwakes, all adults, battled southwards over the spray, hard to get a proper count as it was one flap forwards two flaps back.
Having had a major study of a plethora of leucistic Herring Gulls and ‘proper’ white wingers we are now reasonably sure that the one we had on Sunday morning wasn’t a Herring Gull based on the brief views we had on our 40mph drive-by - the primaries and secondaries were uniformly pale and translucent with the underwing coverts a pale tea colour. A leucistic Herring ought to show darker outer primaries contrasting with the paler inners. Our money is now on a 1st winter Iceland Gull but we’ll have to wait until someone else comes across it for verification. We doubt if it was a Glaucous Gull as it didn’t seem big and bulky enough and even at the range we saw it at the distinctive two-tone large bill of a 1st winter Glaucous Gull should have been easy to see.
The following pics may give you some clue as to why we didn’t get a lunchtime safari in...fortunately we successfully avoided a soaking by the narrowest of margins. These were taken about an hour before high water – don’t think we’d have stood a chance of staying dry if we’d have gone across at the top of the tide. The wall we lean the scope on is about 4 feet (1.25m) high.
Apparently after last week’s storm hundreds of Common Sand Stars and a Dab (a species of flat-fish) had been thrown out of the sea and onto the road at the point where we photographed these Bottle Nosed Dolphins at the end of the summer.
Where to next? Even more wind forecast tonight - 80mph is possible!!! So once again it'll be patch 2 tomorrow might even try to get on the beach for a look at the carnage that is the strandlines...now where'd we put those wellies?
In the meantime let us know what's battling against the wind in your outback.