Monday, 12 September 2011

Sooty and Sweep - 12th September 2011

A certain forum discussing birds has been getting rather excited with the build up to the 2nd Hurricane to attempt to cause our birds some discomfort. Katia was set to hit overnight last night and it appears to have hit pretty hard! I arrived at Starr Gate for 09.20 to a huge swell and 30 or so mph winds.
Sandwich Tern - the only photo of of the avian variety and I feel almost embarrassed to put it on my blog!
I got two main highlights from the seawatch with the first at 10.02. I picked up a small wader appearing slightly larger than a Dunlin. It had cold grey Mantle with generally white body except for a black 'line' on the birds face. This quickly made it apparent that it was a phalarope sp. The Black wings except for a reasonably broad white wing bar at the base of the secondaries and tertials, in addition to the grey mantle made me come to the conclusion of a (presumed adult) Grey Phalarope! My 2nd self found bird following my first ever views back in 2005!
Next came the highlight of the trip, and probably my seawatching highlight of the year! Scanning from left to right I picked up a shearwater flying south. With it being off Blackpool, I instantly labelled it as Manxie, but the wings appeared too long so I followed it as it banked from side to side. It turned away from me showing its underside for the first time, and instantly, I noted that it was almost completely dark underneath except for a couple of silvery flashes on the underwings...I had a Sooty!
Not a photo but an appropriate image that I painted back in 2007!

This is a lifer for me and my 8th species of tubenose which certainly makes today special in terms of The Tubenose Challenge
Full sightings from the day:
Sooty Shearwater flew South-east 11.27
Grey Phalarope flew North 10.02 (close in at c50 meters out)
16 Sandwich Tern
4 Arctic Tern
6 Gannet
1 Manx Shearwater flew south
1 Guillemot
24 Cormorant
1 Knot flew south
c200 Common Scoter

Lets hope it continues tomorrow!

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