Wednesday 2 October 2019

Seawatching at Cap-Griz-Nez

Cap-Gris-Nez - mild, sunny, NNW 5 - A day out seawatching in Pas-de-Calais with MC, CP and TG commenced at Dunkirk just after dawn to the east of Clipon jetty, which is now out of bounds. We only spent an hour scanning from nearby sand dunes where the viewing conditions were difficult to say the least. However, we did see thousands of Brents and plenty of Sandwich Terns, Common Scoters and a few skuas westbound, but all too distant, so we decamped to Cap-Griz-Nez.
  Once on site the rest of the morning was spent seawatching from below the viewing platform where the conditions were far more favourable and with good light which made so many of the seabirds easier to identify. We then had a break for lunch and spent the afternoon watching from the cliff-top  platform. The following is an approximate total of westbound seabirds seen from Griz-Nez, 0930 - 1600hrs:
Red-throated Diver - c50, mostly adults in summer plumage and close to shore.
Black-throated Diver -  One late afternoon.
Great Crested Grebe  - One east.
Manx Shearwater - Two.
Gannet - c200, including plenty of juveniles.
Shag - One on the rocks below the cliffs.
Cormorant - `Hundreds` in the area.
Brent Goose - c3,000 and the main spectacle of the day streaming past in straggly skeins.
Shelduck - c50, mostly in the morning and close to shore, some within Brent flocks.
Mallard - 5
Eider - 3 drakes on the sea below the cliffs.
Common Scoter - c150.
Dunlin/Sanderling - 5
Oystercatcher - 3
Pomarine Skua - 11 - mostly pale adults with `spoons`, several reasonably close, all in the morning.
Arctic Skua - c35 - all plumages and mostly distant throughout the day and also chasing terns.
Bonxie - 10 - one or two close, but most well out in the Channel.
Mediterranean Gull - 100 around the Cap.
Little Gull - c30 - mostly adults close to shore, probably many more further out.
Black-headed, Common, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls all present.
Kittiwake - c20
Sandwich Tern - c1,500 - a bare minimum, seen throughout the day.
Commic Tern - c50
auk sp - c150.
Also noted during the day: Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Little Egret, Chiffchaff, Rock and Meadow Pipits and Linnet.
  A great days birding in fine company. Many thanks to Martin for driving, Chris for booking up and Tony for plenty of tales of yesteryear!

                               Cap-Griz-Nez at low tide





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