Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Sandwiches on the beach

The Safari was able to get a good look at Patch 2 this morning. The tide was just on the ebb and there wasn't much happening until we found a distant shoal of fish with a rake load of Gannets and gulls in attendance. The action was too far out and the sea too choppy to be able to tell if there was any blubber beneath them.
In the office we had a shuffy round the interweb to see if we could make any sense of yesterday's mystery swimmer. After a few abortive dead ends we had a stroke of luck and came across the very thing on a website we use quite often, iSpot. Turns out is was almost definitely an Idotea linearis...and the local area has some history of the species, there being a tetrad noted up beyond Chat Alley as well as across the bay on the NBN map. Mystery solved then, life's good!
At lunchtime we had a full hour watching the sea for National Whale and Dolphin Watch. Crikey the wind was cold! Not only cold it was strong too, a fair bit stronger than earlier. 
The first thing we noted was there were lots of Common Terns fishing close in and among them there were a few juvenile Sandwich Terns, the first we've seen this year. A look at the beach to the south revealed more down there roosting up conserving their strength rather than battling with the wind.
Looking out to sea it didn't take us long to find the fish, or at least their associated flock of birds. There were now two large shoals, was it two or was it just one massive one that had (been?) split into two parts?
There were probably over 100 Gannets and shed loads of gulls. Several Manx Shearwaters drifted past closer in too, always good to see them.
We had a pathetic effort at digi-scoping the flock but really it was far too far away.
We reckon there's at least 50 birds in the pic, we missed the central densest part of the flock - dohh!
As with earlier the range was too far and the sea was too choppy to detect any blubber.
All too soon the hour was up and back inside we had to go.
Where to next? We've got another hour out looking at Patch 2 tomorrow - will the weather be more condusive to blubber spotting?
In the meantime let us know where the sandwiches are in your outback.

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