The Safari's wildlife-ing day started before we go out of bed this morning, we heard an unknown number of Pink Footed Geese passing overhead a few minutes before the alarm went off. Whilst listening for any more we heard a Blackcap (Garden #29) sing from not far away, certainly sounded closer than the Golden Triangle.
Conditions over Patch 2 were pretty good, windy but not too windy, good light and clear visibility and not too cold.
First bird seen was a distant Great Black Backed Gull but the second was much better a much closer dark phase Arctic Skua (151 P2 #57). trouble is it was going south. Over the next few minutes we had three Manx Shearwaters, two north one south, five Kittiwakes all north, two Razorbills, south, three Common Scoters, south, a Red Throated Diver, south, and a couple of Sandwich Terns, south...do they know it's spring and they should be going the other way? Surprise of the day, and what a big one it was, also flew past southwards, a Great Northern Diver (152, P2 #58) even closer in than the Arctic Skua at the beginning of our watch. They aren't annual off Patch 2, almost but not quite, and we can't guarantee getting one on our P2 list in any given year, we often have to twitch one somewhere off patch.
One of the fishermen came over for a chat, he hadn't seen the Harbour Porpoises yesterday but to be fair he'd have probably needed bins. But we got the impression he and his mates aren't too keen on our Grey Seals...always something else to blame for the lack of fish other than the fact his bait wasn't presented correctly or the offshore trawlers have swept the sea clean of fish. Must be some around as he did say that Dover Sole, Mullet and a few Bass have been caught recently.
With all that excitement at breakfast time we could hardly wait for lunchtime to come round.
As always lunchtime did come round and we saw two distant Gannets for starters, guess which way they were going. Two Little Gulls followed a few minutes later a lot closer in and two more were further out after a few more minutes. A horizon distant Red Throated Diver went south...what was it about today...what are we getting weather-wise tomorrow????? But we did see another (same?) going the 'proper' way and a third in full summ plum sat on the sea very close in but difficult to enjoy because of the large waves.
In the middle distance a swirl of feeding Manx Sheawaters appeared somewhere between 30 and 50 of them with about two dozen Kittiwakes all adults bar one first summer bird.
Common Scoter numbers were up on this morning, two south!, six distant SE and six close by on the sea to our right. A couple of auk sps went south...must be really awful ooop noorfff! And a properly identified but infinitely closer Razorbill went - yes you guessed it...
A pair of Eiders, flying south just below the wall completed our watch.
Back at Base Camp Frank took us to Patch 1 where little was happening on a cool evening but we did find Meadow Foxtail in flower at last.
Where to next? Can't hardly wait to get back there in the morning - anything could be out there...Whimbrel would be good or even hearing one from our pit before the alarm goes off might be nice.
In the meantime let us know what was going the wrong way in your outback