6th Aug. Tom and I decided to put in a little sea watching from the Tower Hide at Seaton Sluice. I have to say that ‘sea’ watching was what we did much of the time we were there! It was a nice evening however and not totally without reward as very soon after arriving we found a very distant Sooty Shearwater flying south. My thoughts that this was setting us up nicely for some exciting sea watching were some what dashed by the time we left at 8:30pm.
As it was quiet we decided to go for our tea and return later. At this point having spent some time attempting to lock the hide door and eventually being successful we bumped into BB also sea watching from the headland. This was quite fortunate because after chatting for a short time we had our best sighting of the evening when a dark phase Arctic Skua appeared and harassed the terns. It gave us a very close sighting at one point. Tom had initially picked it up on the sea.
We returned to find that BB had recorded Manx Shearwaters and Velvet Scoter. Afraid we saw neither species all the time we watched. Commoner birds seen included some variable sized flocks of Common Scoter both on the sea and in flight. I’d estimate the largest flock contained about fifty birds. Gannet is one of my favourite sea species and we watched them on the water and flying north and south in some numbers during our watch. Both Guillemots and Razorbills were seen with young. Fulmars were quite numerous as were Kittiwakes. Common Terns out numbered Sandwich Terns this evening. A few Teal were seen and a single Shelduck and the Eider Ducks of course.
Waders seen included Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Knot in summer plumage, Golden Plover, Redshank and Curlew.
So a quiet evening but a pleasant one never the less with the rocks and waders been lit by the sun at one point, Blyth looking almost picturesque in the pastel colouring, Seaton Sluice Beach just begging to be photographed in stunning light (I didn’t have the gear tonight) and St Mary’s Island and lighthouse being lit by the sun as it dropped in the west.
Photo courtesy of Tom M.
We noticed lots of standing water on our journey. Backworth Pond overflowing almost to the road and the Bee Hive Flash full, as were other temporary flashes along the Beehive road. Someone had recently told me that the Beehive Flash and been drained and was no more. Well it was certainly extant last night! I do know the plan is for drainage of this flash eventually. Sooty Shearwater is an addition to my year list. I did feel a bit of a chill during the evening, perhaps for the first time in some weeks.