Went for a walk on Ainsdale beach after work this afternoon with a glorious south westerly blowing the smell of the sea in over the sand....
A small roost in some hollows in the sand held one or two Black Headed Gulls and Common Gulls and three moulty Sandwich terns - superb birds, obviously tired after a day flying into the wind, which preened and allowed me to get quite close.
At least one was ringed. I wonder where?
As I watched the roosting terns, 30 or so Sanderling got used to me and started feeding on the wet sand fairly close - I could hear their twittering calls as they virtually flew over the beach, their feet barely touching the ground.
Most were moulting out of chestnut summer plumage - they really burn up some energy as they feed, blown sideways by the wind, but never stopping.
The sea was pretty rough - there was a fair swell going, even though it was a good way out (often the way at Ainsdale), but I couldn't resist a quick five minute seawatch.
Good numbers of Sandwich Terns moving south, with a few Commons, and at least 50 Gannets in a feeding party drifting south, some just beyond the surf.
Two smaller terns, with the typical flickering, darting flight of Little Tern went south, but they were too far away to be absolutely sure of i.d. - some you've just got to let go...
Best of all, four Manx Shearwaters south and two going north suggested that if the wind keeps up, a seawatch at the weekend could be seriously rewarding.
An hour very well spent, but many more of these heavy rain showers and I think I'll start birding bare-ass naked, it'll save getting my clothes soaked every other day.
You have been warned.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies....