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Sunday, 26 September 2010

Seawatch Success (at last!)

Arriving at Ness Point today at 9am, seeing Rob Win & Andrew E, I arrived just in time to watch a reasonably close immature Long- tailed Skua 1/2 way out (before the buoys) it flew north with a bouncy tern-like flight low over the water, at one point it broke away and flew high to harry a small group of Common terns flying south. It then carried on flying north. watched for around 2 minutes, it was typically a cold grey- brown appearance above with barring on upper rump and uppertail coverts showing a scaly effect. It's rear end was long and tapering and blunt central tail projection. Significantly it showed no white on the dark primaries, the secondaries were dark too. It had a darker brown head and underparts showed cold greyish areas with darker breast band and paler belly and throat. The undertail coverts were barred too. A great bird and good views too!
We were joined by OFB, Chris M and especially nice to see Neville S. Other birds seen during a two hour seawatch included a dark Arctic Skua with white wing flashes flying low over the water, a Purple Sandpiper, a group of 1 Knot and 1 Dunlin, a further group of 5 Dunlin, 6 singleton Red throated Divers, a group of 11 Common Scoter (2 males, 9 females), a single Common Scoter and a further 4 Common scoter, a cumultattive tally of 20 Gannets including a group of 5 flying very close past us (all the Gannets were immatures save for 3 sub- adults), 3 single auks, 2 single Mediterranean Gulls (1st winter and 2nd winter birds), 8 Little Gulls including a group of 3 (1 imm, 2 adults) and 5 (3 adults, 2 immatures). All these birds flew north.
Next stop was Hamilton Dock, where it was especially pleasing to see 2 female Common Eiders in the channel plus a Common Tern between Hamilton Dock and the harbour. OFB also saw a Cormorant in the dock, whilst I was pleased to see a Common Seal surface on 2 occasions before it disappeared.
A walk around the Oval, included 6 Long-tailed Tits in the Sycamores behind it. Amongst a group of Gulls including Black- headed (5), Herring (3), Lesser Black- backed (2), was the usual adult Yellow- Legged Gull. 5 Pied Wagtail were around the cricket practice area. Whilst on the seaward side of the Oval, dog walkers flushed a close Wheatear that alighted close to me for a split second before flying north. Work on this area of the North Denes to get it ready for a fixed caravan site has begun and has lead to the demolition of the old toilet/ shower block & sadly the removal of the large Tamarisk bushes by Tooke's old shop which was fenced off (repairs or demolition?)


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