Monday, 30 September 2013

More good news from the east

The Safari didn't do any vis migging this morning. Judging by the local reports we didn't miss much. A few minutes before lunchtime we were looking out of the kitchen window when the sun started to shine for the first time this morning and we saw the Black Darter fly past...or was it another one???
We are a very lucky invalid in the CR gave us a lift to the nature reserve again, and that not long after news of a Red Necked Grebe there had broken! 
A quick look in the book told us this was only the fourth record there since the mid-1800s, although the previous three were all in the 1980s, the last in '87.
It wasn't easy to see being distant and mostly asleep hidden in the Water Lilies. 179; MMLNR #109
Thanks again to CR for the pics.
Can you see it???
No re-appearance of last night's, a CR's morning hoped for, Glossy Ibis. This evening a Garganey turned up but left shortly afterwards, that would have been a useful addition to the nature reserve year list.
Where to next? Still after the elusive but everywhere Yellow Browed Warbler but will be rediculously lucky enough to fid one at Base Camp? Young Un AB found one a few yards from his place when he got home from college - the swine!
In the meantime let us know what's drifted in from the east in your outback.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Best sighting at Base Camp so far!

The Safari was out a fraction before 08.00 this morning. It wasn't the best of mornings.
Sunny, 1 okta - again all clouds from plane on trails
10 - 15mph ENE strengthening 15 - 20 E
12C @ 08.00

Before we got out of our pit we'd heard two skeins of Pink Footed Geese going over, there's little better than being tucked up snug as a bug in a rug and listening to the sounds of the wild outside.
Meadow Pipit 23 S to 10.00 largest flock 7 like we said hardly earth-shattering this morning
Jackdaw 1W a local bird?
2 Female Blackbirds in the Rowan tree
Butterflies were on the wing after lunch, 2 Speckled Woods and 3 Small Tortoiseshells.
At 13.30 our look-outs the gulls went up but we couldn't see anything, quarter of an hour later a Sparrowhawk drifted over quite low, mystery probably solved.
We don't get many dragonflies at Base Camp despite the large pond so when one flew over we clocked it and it looked pretty small for any of the usual species. Fortunately it settled, even allowing us to get the camera from indoors...Black Darter only fourth we've seen in town in the last 23 years - get in!!! Base Camp's top sighting since we moved in 10 years ago.
We couldn't get to the other side for better light. It (surely not another) returned about ten minutes later but didn't settle this time.
More usual garden fare included our Goldfinches, still can't get as many Greenfinches as FW...yet
The Woodpigeons wait for the others to spill seed from the feeders for them to hoover up
 Don't know much about clouds but these had a funky pattern to them
One of Wifey's Gladioli
Where to next? More from an increasingly windy Base Camp. 
In the meantime let us know what blew your socks off in your outback

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Another day out

The Safari was out in the garden sat in the vis mig seat a bit earlier this morning.
2 oktas of cloud - all from aeroplanes!!! Hope none of you missed the IPCC climate report yesterday - even more damning than the State of Nature report.
10mph ENE
10C @ 08.00

We had an hour's watching
Meadow Pipit 39 - largest flock 7
Greenfinch 4
'alba' Wagtail 2
Pink Footed Geese 40N
Lesser Redpoll 14 in one flock; no-one else is reporting these and they appeared low behind the garage with a couple of Meadow Pipits but we're sure the little buzzing call was this species. LATE EDIT - ONE here
The once a gain we were kindly driven round to the nature reserve by CR.
We scanned the reed edge where we'd seen the Snipe the other day in the vain hope of a Jack Snipe, neither were there but in amongst the Teal was a Spotted Redshank (178; MMLNR 107), a good find as they are less than annual here.
Not the best of pics but we weren't expecting the skein of Canada Geese that flew over to flush it.
The small flock of feral Barnacle Geese from the zoo dropped in for a while looking very smart in the low early sun. Above them a Kestrel hovered before settling in a small Hawthorn bush.
There was an almost continuous stream of Meadow Pipits, we didn't count them but would guess at well over 500. In the mix were over 100 'alba' Wagtails, the best part of 50-75 Swallows, many Skylarks, and a few Chaffinches. No Grey Wagtails that we haven't seen at the site yet this year though.
Below us the Water Rail didn't show and the Cetti's Warbler invisibly sang a bit of sub-song from time to time but we did get a mammal year tick when a Brown Rat swam across the gap.
Another quality bird whizzed through, a Merlin on its way south but we missed the Peregrine that TS saw taking a Feral Pigeon from the flock feeding in the fields to the east.
A wander down the east embankment gave us little more than another male Cetti's Warbler sub-songing but when we got to the bridge over the outfall CR said "look there, bottom step", flamin Nora a Grey Wagtail (MMLNR #108), when did that sneak in?
So yet another very enjoyable short session at this superb small but almost perfectly formed reserve; many thanks to CR for taking us and providing the pics.
Where to next? More vis migging at Base Camp, perhaps for most of the morning tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's splashing across the gaps in your outback.
EDIT - a Glossy Ibis turned up mid-afternoon, not totally sure this isn't the first one here since 1859, unfortunately we were with Wifey and Frank at the northern estuary watching a seawards drifting turtle murdering Helium balloon putting about 1000 Pink Footed Geese to flight.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Two many assumptions

The Safari wrongly assumed that the much forecast rain would appear over night - it didn't. And we also assumed one very fast Osprey when in fact the two bird theory really did come into play - the one at Rossall Point was still there enjoying a tasty fish lunch when the other was sailing over Seaforth! So there you have it; never assume nuffin unless told to in a maths exam.
Again we didn't start vis migging until after nine. 
We had a stiff ESE breeze @ 15mph
8 oktas of low cloud to the east & 7 to the west.
Temperature was 14C @ 09.15
Don't know what we missed but the hour to 10.15 was dead slow with just 10 Meadow Pipits recoded most of those heard only and the ones seen were heading SE this morning.
Fortunately the rampant direness was short lived as CR had very kindly offered to take us out for an hour or so again and we went to the nature reserve again.

There we had the following - please excuse the list our good hand, which is actually worse than the current bad hand is playing up today.
A Snipe probably flushed by the male Sparrowhawk that landed on the recently cut reeds
then 3 more flying around
A hovering Kestrel wasn't eaten by either of the two Buzzards in the same field - an unlikely turn of events if you believe the Countryside Alliance's ludicrous view of why Kestrel populations have declined so quickly in recent years. Another Buzzard passed over.
Nine Wigeon flew round possibly fresh arrivals
The Cetti's Warbler sang but didn't show - again!
A Water Rail made a dart across the cut gap in the reeds giving CR an opportunity to fire a few shoots off.
A small number of Meadow Pipits passed south-eastwards as did a solitary 'alba' Wagtail.
Outside the hide the yellow Buddliea hosted  a very fresh looking Comma which sadly avoided our phone-cam, a Small Tortoiseshell was enjoying the remaining flowers too and a Peacock flew round above the reeds to the front with the numerous Migrant Hawkers.

Back at Base Camp after lunch we settled into our sky watching seat and hoped for a few raptors to drift over.
The warmth, almost 20C, brought a few butterflies cruising past, namely a Peacock, two Small Whites, and a couple of Small Tortoiseshells.
'Interesting' birds were restricted to a lone Meadow Pipit and two 'alba' Wagtails going SE. Three Starlings N and later one SE, a real rarity over here discounting the enormous flocks going to and from their roost. A Swallow zooted north and eventually we found a really high raptor which was 'only' a Sparrowhawk heading south. A few minutes later all the gulls got up but we couln't find what spooked them.
A few brief looks between the houses eastwards gave us nothing more than a single very distant local? Buzzard.
That's enough for the old hand...
Where to next? CR has offered to take us out again tomorrow morning; what a nice man he is!
In the meantime let us know what's panicking the lookouts in your outback

Thursday, 26 September 2013

All the action's in the east

The Safari had a late start and had to have a go at distance birding this morning. After dashing off an email concerning yesterday's Mediterranean Gull, we'll let you know the outcome in due course, and having a bit of brekkie we didn't start vis migging until 09.10 and it was soon apparent that not a lot was going over.
There were 8 oktas of cloud, occasionally becoming 7 to the west
A stiff 15mph easterly and a temperature of 12C

Within a few minutes we got a txt from Young Un JS saying he'd had a fraction short of 550 Meadow Pipits in the previous two hours plus other bits n bobs. He was watching near his home a couple of miles to our north east.
Time for us to look east too then! We can see the next pylon north in the distance from this one in the horse field on the North Blackpool Pond Trail through the gap between Base Camp and next door looking over the rooftops, sort of 90 deg from the left of this pic; we can see the top cantilever and the wires stretching out about hundred yards away from the pylon.
Shoulda bought a house in the next street up the hill woulda got a much better view!
He wasn't wrong as soon as we rested the bins on the top of our back gate we saw what were probably about 60 Meadow Pipits go by.
But by eck standing there with the wind whistling through the gap wasn't half chilly and we're unable to zip or button a jacket!

Pink Footed Geese 30,15,15,75,7, lunch, 7, socialising break, 50,28,5,1,20 a long long way east, 25N going back to the marshes to roost.  
What looked like a Mistle Thrush
Probably >20x as many Meadow Pipits as saw over Base Camp although the small passerines could have been almost anything at over 1/2 mile away
Swallow 14,3, lunch & social break, 3
Kestrel local?
Sparrowhawk S at no height upsetting c35 Starlings - local?

Looks like we missed an Osprey by looking east rather than our usual west, 1 at Rossall Point (5 1/2 miles N) @ 10.55; one at Seaforth (28 miles south) @ 11.30...probably would have been over the other side of the hill and out of sight...wouldn't it? Going at a fair lick too  331/2 miles in 35 minutes just about 60mph! Ended up at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB reserve for the afternoon which is just about as due south from Rossall Point as you can get.

S what did we get at Base Camp?
On the feeders we only noticed singles of Blue Tit and Greenfinch all morning although we did have our back to them most of the time.
All the following S unless stated
Meadow Pipit 31
Grey Wagtail SE
'alba' Wagtail 2
Sparrowhawk seen twice local?
Small White
Red Admiral
After lunch a Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff was heard working its way along the trees at the end of the garden.
Not quite what we hoped for but interesting none the less...if only we were fit enough to have been able to get to our normal vis migging spot on the old railway bridge.
Where to next? Over night rain and a gentler south-easterly could be interesting in the morning, we'll be listening for a tsee-eep coming from the big Sycamore in next door's garden for sure.
In the meantime let us know what got you looking the wrong way in your outback.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Boredom relieved

The Safari looked out of the window just before 08.00 to see useless thick mist. Quarter of an hour later it had lifted and Meadow Pipits were on the move, how many had we missed...we had 35 up to 08.30, another 65 to 09.00 when the mist descended again but broke briefly 17 more + one going north in the half hour to 09.30. From then we only had another three to 10.15 when our tradesman called and watching was suspended for the morning. 117 for the session, biggest flock this morning was eight.
Two Robins were in the back garden early on and a Chiffchaff called from a neighbour's garden at the front as we waved Wifey off to work.
Overhead on our vis migging session we had singles of Siskin (Garden #39) and Song Thrush (Garden #40), seven Skylarks went passed including a flock of five. Wagtails were notable by their absence, only one 'alba' type was recorded until two together just after lunch.
At the feeders a couple of Blue Tits and a Great Tit kept us entertained but there were no Goldfinches this morning. We have a little Greenfinch thing going with FW over the next few weeks, we nearly equaled his six with a respectable five and a Chaffinch, the latter the first in the garden of the season. Also first for the season was a Long Tailed Tit, we'd heard more earlier but only one ventured into the garden briefly long after the others had left the area.
On the top of the pergola a juvenile Woodpigeon shuffled around like an aimless teenager after spending some time eating next door's Rowan berries; it looked like it had indigestion - a few minutes later an adult joined it and promptly began to feed it pigeon milk...this would have made a good photo but the camera never came out today due to the incredibly poor light.
After lunch the Wren put in an appearance, the first time we've seen or heard it since the nestlings fledged. We've taken down the nesting hanging basket but the bird seemed to be looking for it, perhaps as a somewhere snug to roost?
It was just about warm enough for insects to be on the wing, plenty of Common Wasps and a few bees and just one butterfly today, a Small White.
We were very lucky this afternoon to be very kindly taken out to the nature reserve by CR for an hour or so. This was the first we've been through the front door wearing shoes since our op and we literally felt 10 feet tall!
Birding is a bit difficult in a plaster cast and sling but we did our bit by finding a superb Mediterranean Gull which, on inspecting CR's pics, turned out to be Darvik ringed R141 or T pale green with white lettering - anyone know this bird?
An adult Water Rail eluded his lens but we didn't see the juvenile which we would have liked too as this is the first proven breeding of this species at the reserve :-))).
Huge numbers of Feral Pigeons in the fields to the east were disturbed by two Buzzards creating quite a spectacle. While all this was going on we heard a couple of Skylarks going over (MMLNR #106) bringing us closer to our target of 115 for the year at the nature reserve.
The gulls shuffled round a bit and more, mostly Herrings, began to drop in, one the newcomers was a second Mediterranean Gull...not been to the reserve for ages and we get two Meds - can't be bad!
Not only that the Water Rail put in another appearance allowing photography too, not by us it'll be a few weeks before we'll able to carry camera and bins at the same time.
Five Snipe were secreted behind the loafing uncounted Teal and Shovelers and we also saw a few Gadwall.
There were Migrant Hawkers aplenty and a singled Speckled Wood near the hide window from where we also heard a short snatch of song from a Cetti's Warbler.
All too soon our hour was up and CR  had to get back to the grindstone. The way home provided some insight into the nature of the less salubrious human beast..a father was picking up his pan-lids from school armed with a can of strong lager which ended up chucked in the bottom of the adjacent hedge...fine behavioural examples to be setting to the children around him...disgrace!
A huge thanks to CR for offering to take us out. 
Where to next? More vis migging, that weather is looking more interesting as the week goes on...Yellow Browed Warbler in the big that WOULD do nicely! Wishful thinking??? Well there was a Golden Oriole just up the road this morning...nuff said.
In the meantime let us know what doubled up in your outback.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

A slow start

The Safari spent much of the day vis migging. We started with a look at yesterday's Garden Cross Spider that was sitting in the centre of its web this morning.
Our usual bald Blackbird was one of only two seen all day!
And during our morning stint a Magpie dropped by.
The vissing got off to a very slow start with only two Meadow Pipits in the first two hours and nothing at all on the feeders during that time!
08.00 - 11.00/12.00 - 15.00
15C - 20C
Wind 10mph E
Cloud 6-7  low then breaking and rising after lunch
All south unless stated otherwise

Meadow Pipit 44 - largest flock 5, cf yesterday l/f 14
Jackdaw local?
Swallow 5
Buzzard N, a few minutes later gull commotion indicated a raptor moving south but we didn't get on to it. + 2 others to the north - could have been same.
Pink Footed Goose 24 one skein
Great Black Back Gull NE good record for Patch 1 which we aren't collating this year, too far away for a garden tick.
Sparrowhawk local female seen twice, male at height directly S
Grey Wagtail 3 S, 1 N later
'alba' Wagtail 2S together
A Greenfinch came to the feeders and stayed there munching away for over 20 minutes, a hungry migrant? Only one other seen all day - where are they?
One of the local Robins we hear ticking away in the early morning has discovered the free scram too.
The warmth of the afternoon had butterflies on the wing with a couple of Peacocks, a Speckled Wood, two Small Whites one of which landed on the washing line
A Green Veined White nearly took our head off as it fluttered by but best  by far was a real Base Camp rarity Small Copper which also stopped for a warm
Wrangling the tripod/camera combo round from feeder angle to yard angle to get the butter shots was seriously tricky but we're very glad we managed it!
Still plenty of hoverflies about and we had regular visits to the remaining few flowers from Common Carder Bees and a single Tree Bee.
Where to next? More of the same tomorrow, hopefully with a bit more action early on.
In meantime let us know what provided the rare treat in your outback.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Bit of a drab sort of a day

The Safari has a warning for you - if you don't like blood n guts scroll quickly to the bottom and work back up to the spider...some of you may find that more abhorrent the the innards!
Anyway here goes, with thanks to why our right hand is a bit sore. It's notour hand but one like it.

Anyway onto the only pic we did manage to take in the gloom today - a Garden Cross Spider doing its level best to stay out of the limelight.
The vis was a lot slower than expected but we did get 2 Skylarks (garden #38) along with 37 Meadow Pipits, a Sparrowhawk and a skein of eight Pink Footed Geese. Trying to get pics of Herring Gulls coming to bread on the garage roof was spectacularly unsuccessful.
Feeder activity was well down on yesterday but we did manage to move them around a bit so the untouched Nyger seed is nearest the cover and the two favoured feeders are nearest to our photo position. We hope to improvise a hide type thingy to get even closer; probably just means throwing an old sheet over our head!
Where to next? There's a promise of better, or at least less grey, weather tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what the scariest bloodiest thing is in your outback

Sunday, 22 September 2013

They're in the wrong place

The Safari was able to wobble the camera-tripod combo outside the kitchen door this morning in bright sunshine. The sun was just rising enough to peek above the fence. The camera is a little nearer the feeders and more importantly the dirty sitting room window has been taken out of the equation.
It's still a little far these pics are taken at around 2000mm equivalent, the favoured feeder is about 15m away. The way the garden is laid out there are no other places to hang the feeders, unless we could hover over the pond, so if the birds land on the wrong side they are in shadow but that does allow for some interesting lighting effects, like this Greenfinch. We're still shooting at a far too slow shutter speed.
Goldfinches arrived too but our top count was only four. By now the wind had picked up and the feeders were swinging around too much.
They are messy eaters spitting the husks far and wide, another reason not to hang them over the pond.
The best of the bright light on the feeders finished by 10.30 but the tree at the end of next door's garden some 20+m away came into play but birds sitting up there faced the wind, tomorrow's easterlies should provide better opportunities.
We spotted a spider's web shining in the sunlight on their small self-seeded(?) Holly bush.
That tree is a fairly large Rowan tree which is very well berried up and attracting the local Blackbirds.

A Woodpigeon landed briefly on the furthest pergola over the pond, it knew we were stood quietly in the corner by the door and didn't really settle. 
Later a Speckled Wood landed in almost the same place - far too far away to be taking pics of such small things.
It was nice and warm this arvo and we also added Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock to the garden notebook.
Earlier we'd hoped to record some vis mig but it wasn't to be with just a single Meadow Pipit and a Pied Wagtail going over; for some reason we checked our spreadsheet and discovered the later was new for the garden being #37! Just hope there's not a lot of writing to do tomorrow; we writed more betterer than that when we were five :-)
Just spotted we didn't put the Peacock down. Not sure which is harder scribing in the book or typing on this keyboard, this little missive has taken a little over two hours to produce.
We're a little ahead of Monika in our annual challenge but she could easily win in the garden stakes, only been in her new place for a few short and no doubt very busy weeks and is already very  close to our total, a good autumn will see her pass us easily.
Where to next? We're going nowhere, but you never know what nowhere will produce. Might try a new thing or two but there's no chance of macro for at least three weeks.
In the meantime let us know what's just a few feet too far away in your outback.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Back in the saddle

The Safari has a really heavy stooky to contend with and we're not finding left handed typing particularly easy. We're not able to get out and the weather hasn't been conducive to photography of the feeders. Hoping for a bit of sunshine and less wind coming up and some south easterlies early in the week should deliver some vis mig in the mornings.
Been watching this but missed the best birds today, again best in the morning when the light is right.
Good to be back.
Where to next? Might get you a pick or two tomoz.
In the meantime let us know what's not particularly easy in your outback.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Last day out for a while

The Safari tried unsuccessfully to go and see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition that is on in town until next week - doors are supposed to open at 10.00, the shutters were still well and truly down at 11.00 so disappointing as we're unlikely to be able to get there next week. Serves us right for not going earlier!
A quick look at the boating pool wader roost, just in case, gave us seven Redshanks and nine Turnstones, two of which were having a right royal barney.
We decided to get the tram down past work to see if we could find the Purple Sandpiper at its roost but the tide was already well up driven by the still stiff breeze and we couldn't find any sign of it or the Turnstones it's been hanging around with.
While waiting for the doors to open we had  look at the sea, some Leach's Petrels had been seen elsewhere so there was a till a chance but we did see four terns in the distance and two Golden Plovers heading north.
Getting back to Base Camp we had another practice at left handed photography. Not the best of conditions with wind throwing the feeders around and little sun which was already past its optimum direction. We reckon between 10.00 and 11.00 will be the best time as the sun will be above the houses nearby and not too much in front of us. The window is still rain-soaked and thebackground makes it a bit dark too.
Shutter speed is far too slow but these are today's results.
It can only get better! The birds might even start to prefer the nearer feeders as well - that would be a boon!
A walk down to the coast mid-afternoon gave us a dozen or more Swallows swooping low over a local park and there were a few Meadow Pipits going over too. Base Camp gave us two Speckled Woods which were very welcome given the weather conditions.
Where to next? No updates for a couple of days, fingers crossed will still have finger to cross this time tomorrow.
In the meantime lets us know if the conditions in your outback precluded decent attempts at photography.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Got one - wrong one

The Safari went straight to the bottom end of Patch 2 this morning and saw nothing, not a sniff of any roosting Turnstones never mind any Purple Sandpipers, so it was off to work where we turned on the computer and while it logged in - takes for ever - we grabbed the scoped and shot over the road to the wall. The tide was just about reaching the toe of the wall and the waves were still huge. We just knew there was a Leach's Petrel out there for us. We looked intensely at every wave without joy. then we saw a small fleck of dark against the white foam were we in? No, it was 'just'  an Arctic Tern and it was the only bird of note we saw.
At lunchtime we were back out and looked down the wall and saw a Turnstone pecking around on the newly revealed check if there are any others there. There was...only one other bird - the Purple Sandpiper! (P2 #76) Now we just need it to stick around until we get back to Patch 2 at the start of November so as we can get some pics of the little blighter.
We spent as long as we dared staring at the waves without any joy at all; to rub salt, sand and foamy spray into our wounds over 100 were seen at Hilbre Island not too far away and almost in view - darn that wind with not enough south in it!
Where to next? Well that's it for a few days or a week or so, might get out tomorrow but we've got quite a lot to get ready for going into hossy first thing Thursday.
In the meantime let us know what cheated you out of the biggy in your outback.

Monday, 16 September 2013

It's an ill wind that blows and doesn't produce

The Safari was out on Patch 2 as soon as possible this morning and luckily the tide wasn't up enough to give us a soaking.
We scanned and acanned and scanned but to no avail nothing was moving along our piece of coastline. Eventually a handful of Gannets moved by going nowhere fast in to the teeth of the wind. We gave it longer than we normally dare knowing that out there somewhere was a Leach's Petrel or two with our name on it. Nothing more was seen and the second wave to come overthe wall and sloosh us in the face was the final straw, we turned and fled a little downhearted.
Crossing the road we spotted a dead Starling by the little flower bed at the side of the Zebra Crossing. Always on the look out for rings we went to pick it up, it wasn't a Starling at all it was a Leach's Petrel. It was dead but still bleeding and we thought initially it had struck the overhead wires for the trams or the cabling for the Illuminations. Later we got to thinking actually they keep really low flipping over obstacles (like waves) rather than soaring to great height so perhaps it was struck by a car...either way it was unringed. It must have flown BEHIND us while we were watching for them as we don't think it was there when we set off, surely we would have spotted it cos it was only feet from where we waited for the traffic to stop to let is cross!
Wouja look at the tube on that!
A sad end for a lost traveler.
Looking at Bird Guides throughout the morning reports of Leach's Petrels and other juicy seabirds from all along the NW coast from the southern tip of Scotland to Bardsey Island, Liverpool Bay was full of goodies! We could hardly wait for lunchtime to come round and have a look at the dropping tide.
By now there was no danger of getting a wave in the face and we gave it a good go but again nothing was out there, think there just wasn't quite enough south in the wind. We didn't even find a Gannet, just a few Lesser Black Backed Gulls trying to move south and a Great Black Backed Gull here and there. A Black Headed Gull came in to land right next  to us but we moved as it entered our  peripheral vision and it took off without quite touching down. This made us look down at the beach where we saw a few Sanderlings and a Bar Tailed Godwit. The godwit was feeding in an interesting way, it poked the sand at short regular intervals with its bill slightly open as it walked forward, when it felt a variation in the sand it delved down with different techniques, a shallow stab brought up a worm, a mid depth probe brought up an unknown prey item from which a blob of sand fell and finally the up to the eyeballs full depth probe and wriggle to get another type of worm, one of the Lugworm  species? The walk and probe did seem random as it walked in straight lines for several yards and we couldn't determine which of the three it was going to do next. After about 10 yards it would turn slightly and try another 'run'. Wish we'd had video camera with us it was fascinating to watch.
Anyway we soon returned to the monstrous sea - there were some humungous waves out towards the horizon. While we were scanning a shearwater rose out of a trough banked and was lost appeared bigger than a Manx Shearwater and in the good light was deffo brown rather than black although Manxies can appear brownish but this was well did appear again but a mile further away to the north and only arse on so nothing more to go on, think was probably a Sooty Shearwater but nowhere near enough to claim for a record unfortunately.
Another distant bird caught our eye giving a Herring Gull a hard time, a Bonxie (P2 #75).
Getting back in the office we had look on the Fylde Bird Club website to see how many more Leach's we'd missed and saw that NP had had a Purple Sandpiper at the southern end of  our Patch...a species we've never seen on Patch 2 and expect almost every winters day! Grabbing the bins we dashed down there and dipped it seeing only a single Turnstone. AB later let us know it was still there this evening so we know where we're going first thing tomorrow.
So there ended a day of mixed birding fortunes.
Where to next? Just told you and that'll probably before we get anywhere near work.
In the meantime let us know what was in the wrong place at the wrong time in your outback.