Out to sea nothing much was happening. Small flocks of Common Scoters were scattered about and that was about it...until we found a string of distant gulls.
Working along the line we saw that almost all of them were Kittiwakes with a handful of 1st winter Herring Gulls mixed in with them. We counted the Kittiwakes, all adults as far as we could tell, and got to 203. They were moving slowly south, with most of them dipping and dropping on to the surface at some time. Looked like they were feeding on something at the surface that was concentrated by the currents and/or tide in a long narrow strip. A Red Throated Diver took off from their midst.
The pleasant conditions made it hard for us to drag ourselves away a go back into work; it was nice enough to have been able to stand out there for a couple of hours!
A lunchtime trip to the post office gave us the chance to have another look at the Waxwings in lovely calm and sunny conditions. At least two were in a low tree near the berry bushes as we drove up. We parked up put the long lens on the camera and walked round the corner, managing to walk straight past a photographer sat by the fence without spotting him as we went...great camo gear he was wearing!
We had a look at the furthest berry trees as these would have given the best position to stand in relation to the sun but a Council landscape gang had recently been trimming the shrubs in that area – mostly Dogwood – isn’t the sole point of planting Dogwood to enjoy the deep red branches as the sap rises in the spring? So why do these ‘landscapers’ insist on cutting them down along with the spring flowering Forsythia and Flowering Currant bushes - - drives us mad! Should be simple horticultural ID and pruning knowledge. The general dumbing down of just about everything.
The Waxwings eventually took to the air from somewhere unseen and about two dozen circled a few times before landing in the Cotoneaster bushes we were stood by. None were in a good position for a pic and as we watched they shifted around until a Mistle Thrush came in and flushed them and off they went into the distance.
We waited around but there was no sign of them reappearing. All too soon it was time to head back to the office. Driving into the car park we spotted PL well away from his normal habitat trying to take pics of our House Sparrows. We had a brief chat and tried to get some pics ourselves. It’s difficult to get them without a background of brick wall, they have to sit up on the top-most branches of the hedge and you have to be as low as possible to get sky behind them. They don’t cooperate, getting low down into the thick of the hedge, well that is where the passing public have put the feeders.
We managed just one reasonable attempt.
Again we ran out of time and PL sauntered off to try his luck with the Waxwings. Hope he had better luck than we did!
Where to next? More Patch 2 and if it's sunny we might try for the Waxwings again before they decide to move on.
In the meantime let us know if the sun shone for a change in your outback.