Thursday 4 June 2020

Pre-work seawatch

After a brief spell of northerly winds I thought I would chance my arm with a pre-work seawatch this morning. I've enjoyed my local local patch during lockdown but I have missed a seawatch. Snab Point is a mile from home and I suppose I could've lugged the scope down there but the conditions were never great.

Anyway, at 06:50 this morning it was nice to be stood on the dune at Druridge looking out to sea. It started quietly, other than the strings of gannets and large auks (95% guillemot I suspect) heading mostly north. The odd puffin and a few sandwich terns and fulmars for something a bit different.

Four manx shearwaters went through and then at about 07.20 it livened up with a close-in summer plumaged great northern diver headed north - a stunning bird, especially as the light had improved. A couple more manx through and a tight flock of 30ish small waders went north, quite far out. Some were darker above and white below, other darker over all but I think they were all the same species - sanderlings - in a range of breeding and non-breeding plumages.

And then something dark flew through my scope, close-in. With the bins, I got onto it - a very dark Arctic skua which almost sauntered along for a while before landing on the sea - nice! A few common scoters went through later and three red-throated divers went north together but far out.

Seawatch eBird list

I called it a day after an hour and had a quick check of the Budge fields but before I did I stopped to take a few pics of a reeling grasshopper warbler in a lone hawthorn.

Grasshopper warbler 'reeling' in the bushes
I didn't have much time at the Budge screen before work but it was nice to catch up with Dave Dack. Two more wigeon have arrived bringing the total to four and there were 11 black-tailed godwit as well as the usual geese, ducks and waders.

Budge and bushes list here

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