Thanks to Coast and Countryside colleague John Gramauskas for sending me this pic of one of the two Manx Shearwaters released at Ainsdale yesterday evening - one was found in Aughton, the other got as far as Wigan on the big blow!
Interestingly both birds were well-fed juvs, weighing about 450 grammes give or take - well within the norms of general Manxie health and well-being, they were just caught up by the storm.
Weighed, ringed and liberated to cut over the waves again.
I was expecting more of 'em on the coast today to be honest, given the wrecks elsewhere, but despite the big bad boys like the one below waiting in attendance, easy dinners were not served.
Small parties of Manxies were heading south offshore during the day, but not in exceptional numbers.
Tried a seawatch from Ainsdale beach with Ralph Jones this morning for an hour before work (too wild even for me on top of a dune at 7am today), and the sea was boiling angry on a neap tide.
Poor early morning light, rain, sand and vehicle-shake made things kinda challenging, but we still got a few Manxies battling south, about 8 Kittiwakes through the surf, and I had a single, albeit brief, storm petrel sp, which gave a typically tantalising split-second view before being swallowed by the grey swell.
No chance of confidently calling that one, may even have been a real Mars bar wrapper.
With small numbers of Leach's reported to the north and south of us today, there's a possibility of one or two over the sands tomorrow - if the wind doesn't drop too much.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...