What a splendid day (and before I forget Happy Anniversary baby!!!) - raging hooley, mountainous seas, merciless squalls and just an indestructible Land Rover Defender to navigate 'em by - heaven!!!
Pretty much the first bird I encountered this morning at 8.30 on Ainsdale beach was a knackered dark phase juv Arctic Skua, seeking respite from the WSWly. Sorry about the quality of the pic, it's my first attempt at digi-binning, and can I just say, what a right royal pain in the posterior that game is, especially in a force 6-7 (if God had meant you to stick a camera up to your bins, thereby scratching the lenses, he/she'd never have invented Leicas). Initially I had high hopes of this bird being a Pom (despite the obvious wee pigeon head in the pic), cos it looked so big sitting on the sand, and when it flew it showed a nice square tail, but closer inspection could not ignore two sharp central tail feathers.. d'oh!!!
Another attempt at digi-binning later in the a.m. just about captured a tired adult Kittiwake getting a battering from various juv gulls - the last thing Mr Elegant needs in a life-draining storm.
A small gull roost revealed a nice big adult Yellow Legged Gull, which I tried my best to make into a Caspian until Ralph Jones's 'scope put paid to any of that mullarkey.
Good bird to see tho - it dwarfed LBBs and its legs shone brighter than the hopes and dreams of the whole planet.
A quick seawatch/lunchbreak over the tide was difficult given the relentless sheet of excoriating flying sand, and receding surf, but 1 Fulmar came through to add to a single Gannet and Manxie earlier over the swell.
Not a sniff of the Balearic infestation that was plaguing the Welsh coast.
Bird of the day was a superb, although somewhat storm-challenged Manx Shearwater that swept north over Ainsdale beach, and within 6 feet of me in the Land Rover, long after the high tide - the bird was so close over the sand that I managed a brief, respectful conversation, along the lines of "Bon Voyage, watch the gulls, and congrats on being such a sexy beast".
Talk about touching the hand of God.
I know, I'm just a seabird tart, but it was so close I could almost smell it.
If anyone is out there still reading this blog (and it is still getting 23,000+ hits a month, so someone is reading it), please use the comments section to let me know what you're seeing, it's always nice to hear from sane people once in a while.
And I get real bored talking to myself real fast.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...