The Safari took Frank out before bedtime last night and rounding the corner onto the main road we were caught by a gust that had us both teetering on the verge of collapse. Back indoors it was off to bed where we could hear the wind wreaking destruction in the gardens all around, by eck it was howling – unknown things were crashing around all over the place outside...we prayed the chimney stack wouldn’t come crashing through the ceiling, or worse come down on the Land Rover parked in the drive. Earlier during our teatime game of footy we saw only one Peregrine sitting tight up against the cables trying to squeeze itself out of the wind.
Yesterday we reckoned that at the high tide with the storm surge the water on the other side of the sea wall was actually higher than the carpet under our feet. It wasn’t the biggest of tides either, the big spring tides can add another metre to the water level...now that would be scary – oh by the way Canada, thanks a bunch for pulling out of Kyoto - we’ll send you the bill for a new carpet and a pair of wellies to wear at our desk...30% increase in CO2 emissions in 20 years...how’d a ‘developed’ country manage that? Who do they think they are China?
Overnight the wind dropped but by dawn it was still running at 30mph (50kph) with higher gusty spells. Heavy hail showers rattled against the kitchen window and against the darkness we could see the stones piling up on the sill outside as they dribbled slowly down the glass. Brrrrrrr...we didn’t really fancy going out in that.
But out in that is exactly what we did once it was light enough to use the scope. Looking over the wall at Patch 2 the sea was still heaped up and as white as the Rocky Mountains in winter. Here and there small parties of Common Scoters lifted off the water before yet another huge breaker swamped them. Impossible to count them and we did see a few small flocks closer inshore riding the waves. Still no sign of any Velvet Scoters, Long Tailed Ducks or Little Auks :-( but a novelty in the form of a Red Throated Diver was seen at mid range heading southwards through the deep troughs. Monotony of the scoters slightly relieved!
Two Great Black Backed Gulls patrolled the waves with menace on the look out for anything that might look a little slow, weak or feeble. There was a passage of about two dozen Kittiwakes, all adults, and one of those would have made a tasty light snack for the GBBGs.
Although the tide was out and a good stretch of beach was uncovered we only had a cursory scan along the water’s edge. Not many Oystercatchers and only a handful of Sanderlings but beyond the southern boundary of Patch 2 we could see many hundreds of Oystercatchers and gulls feeding along the various strandlines and in the shallow pools left by the receding tide.
The high tide and high winds at lunchtime once again meant no birding but we did dash out to get the following pics. Might have been OK for the scope if we had a tripod in the shelter of the not-so-sheltery shelter (last pic) – they’d be miles better as shelters if they didn’t have a gaping big hole in them!
No chance of standing in our normal spot again today...
Where to next? Hopefully the wind will have died down enough to let us have two full sessions but not so much as everything can re-orientate itself out to sea.
In the meantime let us know what's getting splashed all over in your outback.