Sunday, 28 July 2013

Balearic on the list

The weather looked good for a seawatch today, so I got the train to Teignmouth and started watching from 2 – 5pm.

My target bird was the Balearic Shearwater, and as the title suggests, I saw some. I had to wait 55 minutes for the first one to go through. At 15:42 two went through together, shortly followed by another. Interestingly, some were seen at 15:35 passing Exmouth (time from birdguides) giving an idea of how quick they travel if they were the same birds. After this, the passage dried up a bit, with only a small trickle of Manxies going south. When the fourth Balearic went through, the sun was shining, and illuminating the underside making it look golden.

Other birds included:
120 Manx Shearwaters including 40 distant ones on the horizon which I assumed were all Manxies
1 Arctic Skua + another distant probable (Edit: Seeing on the Dawlish Warren website that they had a Long-tailed Skua south just after 3pm, and I saw my distant probable Arctic at 3:10pm which makes me think that it could possibly have been the Long-tailed Skua! It was very distant but I could just about discern a bit of pale on the under body and possibly the merest suggestion of a little bit of white on the primaries. It was a bit bigger than a manx but I wish I wrote more down about the flight style. When I first picked it up it looked like a weird manx (slightly shearing flight), but when I zoomed in, I could see it was a skua. The wing beats were fairly light, but it seemed to fly with some purpose. I just wish it was a bit closer - I might have just been able to identify it, and it would have been a lifer!)
97 Sandwich Terns
13 Common Scoter (flocks of 2 and 11)
10 Kittiwake
160+ Gannet
2 Fulmar

The biggest seawatching lesson I learnt today was to always where waterproof trousers rather than shorts if it’s forecast to rain. Even though it’s summer, it still gets really cold!

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