Friday, 8 January 2016

All Weather Birders Blown Dry on a Headland

7th Jan.  It’s rarely stopped raining since our dry walk on patch last Saturday, but the weather forecast suggested brightness as the day went on today, so we agreed that a walk from Seaton Sluice to St Mary’s Island would be a good way to spend a few hours.  The weather forecast was wrong and the rain, murkiness, chill and rough sea that greeted us on arrival at Seaton Sluice headland only worsened as the day went on.  We got no further than the headland, but nevertheless made some good sightings as we lived up to our all weather birder titles.  On our journey to the coast sightings included a flock of Lapwing and Great Black-backed Gull near temporary flashes (or perhaps better to say mini lakes, such were the conditions).

 First birds of note at Seaton Sluice were three Velvet Scoters showing wonderfully well flying south past and fairly close to the headland.  A single Little Gull appeared close to the headland as it also flew south under the cliff and then we had a Little Auk appearing just as close before it disappeared underwater having been dive bombed by one of the many Great Black-backed Gulls.  As the Little Auk appeared, so too did Gannet and Eider Ducks.

Other birds noted included Red-throated Diver (SH only) Cormorant (hugging the shoreline), Shag (SH only), a single Wigeon flying south, Common Scoters flying north (BM only), Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Dunlin (all in flight close to the headland), Kittiwakes, Guillemots and two Razorbills.

We broke for lunch and on return found the area ever more gloomy and bird passage negligible although as we spoke with another birder out walking his dog another Little Auk flew south and again close to the headland.

As we left after our first sea-watch of 2016, the rain continued to fall, the burn appeared a muddy grey/brown, shipping rolled on the waves, the waves continued to pound the shoreline, the sands and dunes of the beach to the north was shrouded in mist and Blyth was barely visible.  As we approached home the cloud was breaking up somewhat, but rather latter than forecast.  As for the forecast for tomorrow?  Well surprisingly it’s going to rain!

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