Friday 14 June 2013

Teignmouth vs. Dawlish Warren seawatching

I’ve just started working as a volunteer at The Warren and have spent a bit of time seawatching there over the last two weeks. It seems as though the birds pass by quite a bit further away than they do at Teignmouth. I’m sure this isn’t always the case, but today I was watching Manxies go by at the very limits of my scope.

I got a text from Lee at about midday saying that a Pom was offshore, so I ran up to get a view of the sea but failed to see it. Damn it – would have been a year tick!

I had brought my scope with me with the idea of stopping off at Teignmouth on my way home to do some seawatching, as the conditions looked pretty good. Before I left I told Phil how I would get my Pom there and for him to check the blog to find out if I did see one.

Well (I expect you know what’s coming next) I only had to wait 15 minutes into my hours seawatch to see a lovely pale phase, fully spooned Pomarine Skua fly south at 17:15 – fantastic, if a little distant to appreciate it fully. Still a year tick, and even better, a patch year tick!

There was also a steady stream of exactly (and I have to say exactly on a round figure because otherwise you would probably think I estimated it!) 80 Manxies flying south in average group sizes of eight. They were all close in enough to reliably check for Balearics, which not surprisingly, there were none. Also south were c30 Gannet, c10+ Kittiwake, three Fulmar and 11 Auks.

There was also another distant pale phase skua species which I think was probably another Pom. It was either  un-spooned or was too far away to see the tail, and I haven’t got enough experience with skuas yet to positively ID such distant birds. From the knowledge I do have, I would say it was probably another Pom as the flight style was more Great Skua than Arctic.

Another good thing about seawatching at Teignmouth is that you can find shelter from the wind, which is hard to come by at The Warren, so I had a nice vibrationless view.

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