Sunday, 26 July 2015

Wel that wasn't quite what we expected

The Safari was out again for National Whale and Dolphin Watch, this time at the cliffs at Chat Alley on the dropping tide. We were relieved to find the sea was calmer than yesterday and the forecast strong westerly wind hadn't materialised but instead a stiffish offshore wind was blowing and the driving rain hadn't started yet.
It looked pretty good out there, barely a white horse, good visibility and no shadows from the overcast sky.
It didn't take long to pick up a few small flocks of Common Scoters and then about 10 young Gannets working their way south.
Behind us the punters went by on their Sunday morning wanders, it was amusing to listen to their chat which invariably meant they'd just read our sign out loud...good to know almost everyone who came by could read even if they were a little incredulous that there might actually be some of those whales and dolphins out there - and the seemingly ubiquitous 'killer' seagulls, the Daily Fail and the like have a lot to answer for...maybe it would be better if the masses didn't read them
One chap told us had actually seen Bottlenosed Dolphins last week but when we quizzed him further it seems they were the last ones seen that we saw at the start of the month. He was chufferd though, lived here all his life and that was the first time he'd ever seen - or even heard of - any.
Some of the younger children looked out to see and saw all sorts of good things, whale blows (our Minke Whales don't do that) and lots of leaping dolphins - isn't imagination, or excellent eyesight, great!
We had some volunteers turn up just after we'd found a huge shoal of fish away to our left, just offshore from Patch 2 where we were yesterday...isn't that always the case. There were hundreds of gulls in attendance and a good number of Gannets diving, that was were the Gannets we'd seen earlier were headed. Unfortunately the action was too far away to tell if anything mammalian was there too.
The shoal moved slowly northwards towards us as the tide ebbed so it looked like we might be in with a shout of some blubber. Up to now we'd not even seen a Grey Seal which we would have expected in the reasonable sea conditions.
Then the weather started to close in. The distant low cloud was no longer distant and we felt light spots of rain.
On the beach a couple walked along the sands left by the tide and then stopped, the middle-aged bloke stripped off revealing long swimming shorts and very bravely entered the water for a swim and became the only blubber we'd see.
The weather closed further and we decided to abandon ship at half time once the feeding frenzy was lost in the cloud and wasn't going to work its way nearer any time soon. 
Four Eiders flew past and we found a couple of very close-in female Common Scoters but that was the lot - back to Base camp we went soaking wet.
Where to next? We'll be back out looking at the sea on Patch 2 tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know if there was some weather today in your outback

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