Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Be careful what you wish for

The Safari quotes the following paragraph of yesterday’s missive “So we’re not getting any opportunities to have a butcher’s for any odd-balls like ‘argentatus’ Herring Gulls and Yellow Legged Gulls. Absence makes the heart grow paranoid!!!”

Last night the wind picked up into a real hooley. And guess what, yes you guessed it the strandline was full of washed up shells and these were being picked through by a few thousand gulls...ohhh it was heaven, there just had to be something worth finding in that lot!
We did find something worthy of further investigation almost straight away. An argenteus’ Herring Gull sporting a large dark Darvik ring. It was a little too distant to read but was walking along the strandline towards us. The darned thing was taking its time stopping to pick up beakfuls of broken shells, so we shifted position, leaving our  regular watch point (almost unheard of) and walked about 100 yards northward along the wall from where we were  able to get a good view of the ring until the bird walked into the water! A few minutes later it walked back onto the sand and we could now easily read WA5Y, more than likely to be a Walney Island  bird, where there is a breeding colony of Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls, not to mention the odd hybrid.
The rest of the gulls were spread out in a long line behind it and we started to work slowly towards us from the far end with the scope. Nothing so far...then the worst happened. A huge flock flew into view from out of sight round the bend in the wall meaning disturbance. Sure enough a dog soon appeared. Not too worry the all settled down and now there were more to work through and the dog was going away from us...all good!
After our statement yesterday we decided to go and get the camera from the office, it only takes a couple of minutes to nip across the road and back, so as to take some pictures of the Larid hordes for you...big mistake. We got caught at the Zebra Crossing and had to wait for...a van and a couple of cars which included a Bentley and an Aston Martin – if we sold Base Camp we couldn’t afford either of those even if they were the ‘basic’ models - who said there’s no money around!!!
Horror of horrors when we got back – the gulls had all but gone due to a different dog walker and her mutt right in the middle of where the birds had been feeding. Soooo frustrating...and by now we’d used up all our time and couldn’t have a look at the sea which could have been good as we’d only been back in the office a for minutes when an email popped up saying there were at least 19 Little Gulls lingering off North Shore.

A tiny proportion of those that were there a few minutes earlier
Where'd all the rest go?
And they're off!
Wonder why
Thanks a million...NOT!!!
Someone's having fun - it certainly wasn't us!
The wind continued to pick up through the morning with guts to 50, then 55 than 65mph. By lunchtime, a good hour before high tide the sea was being whipped over the wall and heavy spray was lashing against the office windows. Foolishly we braved it but were always going to be on a loser as we were soaked to the bone before we’d even crossed the road and it was difficult to stand up.
We did get to the wall but there was just nowhere where there wasn’t any waves coming over so we bottled it but not before we’d seen two Kittiwakes sail over the Mirror Ball – not often they come that close!!!
Standing by the radiators for half an hour was next in an attempt to dry out.
Where to next? Still pretty gusty forecast overnight  and into tomorrow so there should be more shellfish wrecked up and the chance of something out to sea but will we be dogged off or take the plunge and ignore the gulls and concentrate on the horizon???
In the meantime let us know how breezy it was in your outback.

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