Ainsdale beach was on tip top form for a post high tide seawatch from 3.45pm-5.30pm today.
Star of the show was clearly this lovely, long winged juv Sabine's Gull, which flew past over the receding surf at 5.20pm heading south - great views of a great bird as it meandered gracefully through the troughs.
Great big snow white triangles, black wingtips and cold grey brown back, wing coverts and nape (up to the crown), snow white bum and tail.
The dark tip to the tail was visible and I could make the fork out once or twice as it tilted in and out of the strong southerly wind.
What a bird - shame my drawing ability is still somewhere in remedial class1z.
I watched the Sabs for three minutes before I lost it over the waves as it headed on south.
Plenty of other birds apart from that though - with another very big movement of Manx Shearwaters offshore.
In fact I spent most of my time with the scope fixed on the rig and clicked them as they went past in a lazy loose undulating flock - the wind was not a problem for them.
They were all pretty distant, but sometimes the horizon was just black with them.
I know I probably double counted a few as they wheeled around the bay, but there were a hell of a lot of Manxies out there today.
At least 6, possibly 9, Arctic Skuas offshore, bullying the terns, with three together at one point.
Always hard to know how many are out there 'cos they keep landing on the swell, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting victims, no doubt.
A few Kittiwakes - including a good strongly marked juvenile, were good to see too - there's not been so many about this season.
Sabine's Gull (juv) 1
Manx Shearwater 916
Common Scoter 35
Arctic Skua 6-9
Common Tern 200
Sandwich Tern 110
Arctic Tern 29
Although there were a lot of terns offshore, I felt a bit guilty for ignoring them to concentrate on the Manxies, so counted the good big roost of Commons on the shore - fortuitously, because it was while I was doing that that the Sabs came floating down the coast behind them...wow.
God knows how good it would have been over the high tide today...if you're free, there's another good tide tomorrow, and if the wind holds up, who knows what'll pass?
And a very happy 14th wedding anniversary to Mrs D too!!!!
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...