Two days couldn't have been more contrasting. Yesterday morning I was walking on the beach in a T shirt at 8am, today it was so cold, the winter coat came out!
The wind switched into the north overnight and the temperature dropped like a stone. A northerly at this time of year normally means seawatching and mid afternoon reports were coming in of Sabine's Gulls and Leach's Petrels from coastal watchpoints - I was stuck in the office until 17.45. I eventually made it to my dune look-out by 18.05 - the light was poor and the birds were distant. It was getting dark after an hour and I was freezing cold so I quit then.
Highlights -2 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Bonxie, 4 Manx, 4 Pale-bellied Brent, 27 Teal, 3 Red-throated Divers, 1 Shoveler and 25 Sandwich Terns. An Arctic Skua was harassing Kittiwakes offshore, it even had a go at a large juvenile gull, chasing it very high into the sky before giving up. Three Mediterranean Gulls went South.
There were flocks of Kittiwakes, moving north but stopping to feed, but they were way-out. Not good for Sabine's spotting. There were about 400 Common Scoter still on the sea.
Monday and Tuesday mornings I've had a walk around the patch, both mornings were quite good for vizmig, with Meadow Pipits still dominating.
In an hour on Monday I counted 328 Meadow Pipits headed south, some stopped to feed, rest and drink. I heard two Tree Pipits amongst them as well as 23 Swallows, 11 Skylarks and 1 Grey Wagtail.
|Resting Meadow Pipit|
In the dunes beyond the Dunbar Burn, a big finch flock has built up numbering around 180 birds. I estimated 65% Goldfinch and 35% Linnet but it could be 60/40. Yesterday, they were spooked and all got up and six birds flew out from the flock calling - Lesser Redpolls. It was almost as if they'd been roosting with flock overnight.
My usual route these mornings takes me north along the road/coal road to the edge of the patch and back along the beach, returning to the car by the road. There's usually not much to see on the beach or sea with just bins, other than the Sanderlings feeding busily along the tideline. The noise of the sea drowns out any vizmig.
|I promise this is a colour image - Sanderling feeding on the shore|
|Red-throated Diver offshore|