Friday 3 May 2013

Pomarine Skuas

Dungeness - 0800hrs - warm, dry and sunny, sw1 - What a difference a day makes weather-wise; this morning it was off with the thermals and on with the shorts and flip-flops, well almost. Arrived at the seawatch hide with the Joker to the news that 2 Poms, a Great Northern Diver and several Little Terns had already gone through and a Serin had flown inland. However, we settled down amongst the throng to two hours of lively banter and a steady dribble of seabirds, many of which were way offshore. The numbers was made up by several hundred Commic Terns with at least 30 (I`m sure the final tally will be much higher) coming close enough for me to be satisfied they were Arctics. The odd Fulmar, Kittiwake and Med Gull moved through along with a few Gannets, Sandwich Terns, 10 Brents, 20 Common Scoters, a "smoke" of distant Barwits, 4 Arctic Skuas, 2 Bonxies and singles of Red-throated and Black-throated Divers. At 0945hrs the stars of the watch hove into view, albeit distantly, when 2 Pomarine Skuas moved up-Channel and onto the Marsh year list (181); just about got the spoons as they drew level.
On the land Wheatear, Black Redstart and Chiffchaff around the power station and another year tick in the moat when a female Common Redstart (182) briefly showed in the mouth of the Heligoland trap, along with 2 Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat. A Firecest was also reported in the moat and a Ring Ouzel on the edge of the trapping area.
RSPB - A scan through the Tufted Ducks on New Diggings failed to relocate yesterdays Ring-necked Duck although one or two Whimbrels dropped in and a Cuckoo flew over. There was plenty of common bird song from the reedbeds and willow scrub. Near the ARC car park a Nightingale had been singing earlier, where we had good views of a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Hobbies over Tower Pits. From the visitors centre 2 Avocets and a Common Buzzard.
Dungeness - 1430-1545hrs - Another crack at the sea from the boats with the hard core boys, plus more topical conversation, yielded 2 close Little Terns (183), while the rest of the seabirds were miles out and included 4 Bonxies, 3 Arctic Skuas, 4 Red-throated and 1 Black-throated Diver, plus single figures of  Kittiwake, Common Scoter, Brent and Barwit. At least 4 porpoises were feeding just offshore amongst the Sandwich Terns.

                                Seawatching Dungeness style

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