The Safari drove to work in the dark as is the norm these days and eagerly awaited the growing light of dawn. But it was to no avail this morning, not a hint of a sunrise in the east.
The morning seemed to take forever to lighten enough to warrant getting the scope out of the draw but sure enough the wait was over and we did cross the road to the wall. The light breeze was coming over our shoulder, the light was bright but not harsh, there was no swell to soeak of and the waves were only tiny, conditions were excellent for spotting cetaceans, or anything else for that matter apart from the naturalists' nightmare that is FOG. The lihgt might have been good but the visiblity was downright awful.
We made the best of by searching through the 101 gulls on the beach - exact count for a new Bird Club project/census - nothing of note other than a few percentage points higher Common Gulls than is 'normal' on our stretch of the beach...nothing obviously argentatusy yet.
Away down in the gloom were 'some' Dunlin and closer we counted seven Sanderlings. A single Redshank was at the beach end of the almost covered outfall pipe and an unseen Turnstone called from the other side of the wall below our feet. To the north of the pipe a solitary Bar Tailed Godwit probed the water's edge, that was the lot apart from the ever present but low in numbers today Oystercatchers.
After we'd done our University Bird Club presentation and had a quick lunch it was time to hit the beach with the beach clean volunteers - only none turned up...where were you all??? We had a quick look on the beach ourselves safe in the knowledge that a business team had been 'volunteered' to do a clean a little later so we went down on to the beach to check it out for them. Thankfully we didn't find much storm blown rubbish - it must have all been thrown over the wall and on to the road by the massive waves, there's plenty still about.
Not only was there little plastic on the sands but other than Mason Worms and Pod Razors there wasn't much evidence of marine life being trashed by the mighty seas last week. So much so that we struggled to find anything of note for you.
On our return to the steps a movement caught our eye on some recently exposed shingle so we fired off a few shots.
If this Turnstone hadn't have moved we wouldn't have seen it and this last shot of the burst shows it chomping on some tasty morsel it's found amongst the stones....can't tell what it is though.
Mid afternoon the western sky looked as though a sunset was going to be on the cards but nothing came of it. Our drive along the prom gave us a good view of the Central Pier Starling murmuration which was pretty big and pretty impressive. By the time we got to North Pier the light had faded considerably and the Starlings there had gone to bed already apart from a smallish flock coming in over the rooftops.
Where to next? Seriously hoping for better weather in the morning.
In the meantime let us know who;'s doing their best to hide themselves away in your outback.