Friday 28 September 2018

The barnies are back

Today saw a huge influx of barnacle geese into the area and that was reflected in my evening seawatch at Druridge.

These barnacle geese have just arrived from their breeding grounds and most of them are just passing through our area before heading west to the Solway, Scotland or Ireland.

Barnacle geese overhead
I had an early finish from work and was seawatching from 15:40 until 17:40, the wind was variable, out of the South-east when I arrived, moving to ENE before coming back round to S'easterly when I left because we are sat in the middle of a pressure system.

Skeins of barnacle geese from 11 to over a hundred came through, going both north and south. I picked up the biggest flock, of over a hundred birds, right out to sea and watched them come in towards me before veering off north towards the Country park. There was single white bird among them - a leucistic individual, There were two leucistic barnacle geese at Lindisfarne last winter.

The in-coming flock of barnacle geese with the leucistic bird out-front
The light was fantastic and away from the geese, the seawatch started well with a distant sooty shearwater headed north. I had to wait for over an hour for another and a third, much closer bird followed it. Two arctic skuas flew south close-in, followed by a bonxie, looking gingery in the evening sunshine. Another arctic skua was harrying a kittiwake just offshore.

Manx shearwaters drifted through, mostly singles and not numerous. A black-throated diver went north and there were a few red-throated divers both heading north and on the sea. A few ducks were noted with small groups of common scoter, wigeon and two tufties.
First-winter Herring Gull

Seawatching totals (15:40-17:40)

Barnacle Geese c157 N and c185 S
Sooty Shearwater 3 N
Arctic Skua 3 (2 South and 1 lurking)
Bonxie 1 S
Red-throated Diver 6N and 6 on the sea
Black-throated diver 1N
Manx Shearwater 8N
Wigeon 9N
Sandwich Tern 16 (all S)
Commom Tern 4N
Common Scoter 20N
Fulmar 1 S

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