The weather this week can best be described as 'unseasonable'. Monday dawned nicely with some sunshine (remember that?) but it didn't last and Tuesday was a complete write-off with torrential rain and gale force winds from the north, which of course at this time of year could produce some good seawatching. Today, the wind was still out of the north and it felt more like November than August. It had dropped a bit by this evening but was still cold.
I was lucky to catch the sunshine on Monday morning before it disappeared (for good?). The sun brought migrant birds and some locals to the sunny edge of the bushes and I counted 12 Willow Warblers and nine Whitehroats including some family parties, Wrens were also obvious. By the turning-circle there were Reed Buntings, Stonechats, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, a Robin and a Dunnock.
|Male Stonechat - all fluffed-up after a good preen|
|Young Goldfinch on the fence|
In the dunes, there were still plenty of the weekends freshly-emerged butterflies. I wonder how many are still alive now?
|Red Admiral - maybe that Stonechat has taken a chunk out of its wing?|
|Small Tortoiseshell on Mugwort|
|Less common - a Small Copper|
I walked back along the beach and already the clouds intimated what was in store.
After being stuck at my desk all day in video meetings, I headed out for a seawatch this evening, The wind had dropped and it looked like seabird activity had too going off others' reports from earlier in the day. It wasn't bad for a Druridge seawatch though - I've had worse! Some birds were quite distant. I got onto a Sooty Shearwater almost straight away, flying through the distant pot flags, it was followed by a small group of Manx Shearwaters and then a spoonless Pomarine Skua powered through on the same line as the Sooty.
Another highlight of the afternoon was groups of Brent Geese headed north. The ones I saw I against the sea were all Pale-bellied Brent, I presume the silhouetted birds against the sky were also this race - 67 in total. A couple of Arctic Skuas went north and one hung around to harry passing terns. There was quite a bit if tern activity, I gave up counting them but noted two Roseate amongst the numerous 'commics' and Sandwich terns.
A nice sight was a bit of a fluke which I could've easily missed. I happened to glance up at the sky from my scope and saw three birds higher in the sky and they weren't gulls - I got the scope onto them, the first two were Bonxies and the third, just behind them was another Pomarine Skua - an amazing sight to see these three powerful skuas flying together up the Bay.
Just as I was about to leave, a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver flew north close in. On the sea, the Scoter flock numbered about 110 and there were three Great-crested Grebes, an Eider and a Red-throated Diver with them.