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Yarr! A frustrating morning with the sullen grey

Posted by on July 19, 2012 9:25 PM | 


The wind had fallen right away this morning, but Bazzo and I still gave the Tobacco Dump a crack - reasonable tide heights and conducive conditions are so few and far between this summer, it would have been rude not to.
With the wind dropping, the white horses of 24 hours ago had disappeared, and the bay was a gently rolling vast grey mass.
It was a pleasant enough morning, with the rain holding off and the light was reasonable, although the horizon and Lennox Rig were a touch wibbly-wobbly.
Most annoying was a very small (about the same size as a nearby Sarnie Tern) skua, heading north, which we scoped from 1025 to 1040.
Very small, with a lazy flight action, hugging the waves and shearing and stalling once or twice.
It showed greyish livery brown uppers, with no white visible in the wings - a slight beast, which if the world of seawatching was based on jizz and experience alone would have been a nailed down Long Tailed Skua - but it refused to come close enough for conclusive views.
And thereby lies the crux of seawatching: A MAN (or woman) HAS GOT TO KNOW HIS (or her) LIMITATIONS.
Tempting as it is to name everything you see, some you just have to let go - and this critter was one of them.
Probable Long Tailed Skua.
Never mind, there will be other days...

Tobacco Dump 0955-1205:
Merlin 1
Gannet 125
Manx Shearwater 5
Bonxie 3
Arctic Skua 4
Skua sp (prob LTS) 1
Sandwich Tern 50
Common Tern 50
Red Breasted Merg 1 fem
Common Scoter 125
Whimbrel 1

The Bonxies were still lingering offshore, in the same area as yesterday - rising from the waves to see if any avian sucker had food they could steal.
Close promixity of one of these things was enough for any LBB and or Herring Gull to promptly regurgitate the contents of their gullet - I often wonder if these brutes should be prevented from watching The Sopranos, but hey, TV and movies can't really influence us, can they?
Merlin tanking in high from the south west was interesting.
Far fewer terns today, just local traffic, and not a sniff of an Arctic - those babies from yesterday will be well down the swell by now.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...


Stunning views of a Peregrine upsetting the wader, gull and tern flocks along the beach at Formby.
Common and Sandwich Terns in good numbers (with plenty of juvenile Sandwich), 5 Little Gulls, a single Turnstone with the usual waders and three Eider flying unusually close to the shore.
Stonechat, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat showing well through the dunes with Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Large White, Dark Green Fritillary, Skipper (Small?) and Small Heath (I think!).
The dunes are spectacular at the moment with the abundance of wildflowers.
Best I've ever seen them.
JD: You're quite right on the Small Skipper and Small Heath count Gaz - and on the beauty of the dunes at present, enjoy it!

Found 45 Natterjack Toadlets at Formby - I am informed that's the best count in seven years there.

Redstart at Cabin Hill at 0930 today, Peregrine on the beach at Formby Point.

Mediterranean Gull on Formby Beach this morning.

Very quiet WeBS on Marshside 1 this afternoon, 'highlights' 2 Ruffs, 114 Coots, 68 Lapwings, 115 Black-tailed Godwits. 2 Common Sandpipers at Sandgrounders' Hide. No raptors, no sign of any passerine migration yet.

Butterfly walk at Hightown:
Grayling 8
Common Blue 2
Meadow Brown 52
Small Skipper 9
Large White 4
Speckled Wood 1
Small Tortoiseshell 1
Peacock 1
Gatekeeper 33
Cinnabar Moth 1

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