After a summer of seawatching drought

Well, it had to happen eventually.  A good northerly blow leading to the sort of seawatching where you don’t mind sitting on an exposed headland as the cold permeates all of your layers of clothing and your body.  So long as you can keep your eye to the ‘scope and your brain isn’t so anaesthatised that you can’t process what you’re seeing…

A good group of seawatchers were gathered on Church Point, Newbiggin, when I arrived at 15:20.  Over the next 4 hours the steady stream of birds passing was enjoyed along with the usual ‘banter’; the minutiaea of moth identification, the claims of ‘Little Auks’ in September (more of that later) and the obligatory ‘winding up’, via mobile ‘phone and text message, of young Mr Robson at Druridge Pools.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m extremely sceptical about claims of Little Auks before the end of September (and with good reason as some birders with very good reputations have sat on Church Point in the past and cheerfully misidentified winter-plumaged Puffins).  So it came as a bit of a surprise, while watching 2 Sabine’s Gulls, to see a summer-plumaged Little Auk fly past the end of the point.  The ‘Church Point Records Committee’ began muttering something about retractions…

14/09/09 15:20-19:20
Manx Shearwater 212
Sooty Shearwater 5
Sabine’s Gull 2-3 adults, 1 possible juvenile
Red-necked Grebe 1
Red-throated Diver 5
Little Auk 1 summer-plumaged adult
Arctic Skua 10
Pomarine Skua 1
Great Skua 4
Wigeon 19
Teal 14
Common Scoter 11
Scaup 1
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 4
Common Tern 20
Roseate Tern 1
+ Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern

~ by pterodroma on September 15, 2009.

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