Monday, 13 September 2010

Bonxies and Manxies

I am currently sat at the dining table in our steading, munching on a box of match-makers, looking out across the surrounding farmland fields, the rain pelting down, wind howling and everywhere is slowly dissapearing. A day for inside jobs I think..

Finding the unexpected Black tern off Carrick beach on Saturday, as well as a Hooded crow, was sure not enough excitement for what was to happen in a 2 and half hour seawatch the following day.

More importantly, on Sunday 12th September it was my 20th birthday and what a day it turned out to be! A nice wadge of cash greeted me in several cards in the morning, Roy dennis's book on 'A life of Ospeys' and several other presents. Added bonus of finding a Black tern yesterday and a week's holiday in scotland free, the day got off to a flying start! Oh and a Red kite from the kitchen window whilst having our breakfast, I couldn't complain..

It was time to head for my favourite birding hotspot in south-west Scotland - Loch ryan. A sea loch situated a few miles north of Stranraer and a haven for birds and birders. Highlights included 3 Juvenile Curlew sandpipers mixed in with a flock of Golden plovers on a clump of seaweed on the incoming tide. These were more than likely passing through on migration, they soon took flight and dissapeared over the other side of the loch.

A quick lunch stop and time to head for Corsewall point for a few hours of seawatching. {NW wind at 18mph} A nice Stonechat in the car-park was a surprise and several Wheatears on passage in the surrounding fields. Time to pick a nice spot with a 180 degree round view - the seawatch began.. Unfortunately Mr M Bridge had only brought his bins away with him on holiday, so it was down to me to find whatever was out there in the Irish sea.

Seawatching totals included:

  • 7 Red-throated diver
  • 3 Great-Crested grebe
  • 3 Fulmar
  • 150+ Manx shearwater
  • 500+ Gannet
  • 23 Cormorant
  • 8 Shag
  • 5 Common scoter
  • 5 Red-breasted merganser
  • 1 Black-tailed godwit
  • *2 Great skua*
  • 30 Black-headed gull
  • 25 Common gull
  • 40 Herring gull
  • 5 Lesser-Black-Bakced gull
  • 3 Greater-Black-Backed gull
  • 55 Kittiwake
  • 5 Sandwich tern
  • *1 Juvenile Black tern*

All things considered it was an extremely successfull seatwatch, seeing as though the wind veered from a nice north-westerly gale to a complete standstill turning the sea into a millpond. Still, the Great skuas passed following the Gannets. Great stuff! Great skua was a yeartick aswell bringing the total for 2010 to 240 and on my 20th birthday too! Believe it or not, the picture below is a ridiculously poor digiscoped shot of one of the Great skuas that flew past - the brown blob more or less at the bottom of the picture but centred...

Ferries were continuously travelling back and forth from Ireland, with many seabirds following them, which improved the chances of something different, but sadly no sooties were picked out. Maybe on wednesday when the next seawatch is due?

It was soon time to call it a day and with a Great skua on my yearlist at last, I was quite intent with my efforts. It was September and I was wearing gloves.. Next investment though is a new stand as the one pictured below has had it's days, a foot and several parts missing, although about 10 years old, it has done me well..

A meal in the evening, followed by several glasses of wine and a slideshow of the icelandic pictures to Elaine and Charlie {The folk that own the farm in which we are staying at, friends for 10 years now!} It was time to hit the sack and pray that my efforts regarding my re-sit exams in late august had paid off. Update in the next few days..

1 comment:

  1. That Bonxie pic is a keeper. Wish I had your photographic ability!