Saturday, 22 October 2011

Wknd 22-23 October

"vismig" on Saturday, 21 skuas in 2 hrs, including great views of juv Pom Skua just offshore, 13 Whoopers past too, full counts.

Seawatch from Dunbar Battery (first visit!) afternoon produced at least one more juv Pom Skua (several probables) and an adult Long-tailed Skua drifting N, full counts; think this is my first ever complete set of skuas :} No other sea-watchers and was not sure where the usual watchpoint is, climbed out of the battlements to get to a spot on front rocks shielded by a wall; on way back discovered that was rather unnecessary with the path round the side! Also tried sitting just below the main battlement wall, but soon found the problem with that, for some reason people seeing a high wall can't resist going there to spit over it - missed me, but not long after got a shower of pebbles from small children. Will take a hat next time.

[Interesting that the skua flow rate there was not markedly different to in the Forth recently; average rates in Forth has been c. 15 birds/hr (100 birds, 6.5hrs counts, 3/7/19/20/22-Oct), with 43% Arctic, 15% Bonxie and majority of rest Pom; at Dunbar rate c. 12 birds/hr (24 birds, including a few south), far more Bonxie at 45%, Arctic only 15%. Can also compare with Hound Point count on Sunday, 88 birds in 6.5hrs, 58% Pom, 31% Arctic, 8% Bonxie and 2 juv LTS - suggests most of my "skua sp" are Poms! Obviously there are loads of factors, like wind, which will render attempts at comparisons nearly meaningless!]

Also Saturday - Whoopers were at Rattlebags (by East Fenton) and New Mains (by Whitekirk), flew to roost towards Tyninghame 18:15hrs (photo of arrival there the previous weekend). Sunday - confirmed 100 Whoopers back at East Fenton, in favoured stubble by Rattlebags, 23 juvs (probably six families, b5, b5, b4, b4, b3, b2?), 23% juvs ratio (can do that with no calculator!) which is very typical. 3 darvics, 2 new, i.e. yellow-H9U and yellow-S53, latter ringed and released at Loch Leven (Findatie) on 1st February 2007 after being in care at SSPCA, Middlebank (taken there from Muthill, near Crieff on 7th November 2006 in a weak condition); only other report was near Gressingham, Lancashire (SD5469) on 15th December 2008 (c/o Allan Brown), great survivor then! Previously we've had S54, ringed at Muss, and S55, ringed as a juv on the River Tay at Flukie Fishing Lodge, Kinfauns, near Perth on 29/1/10, also rung by Allan & Lyndesay; seem to be gathering a matching set of their darvics!

Passing Aberlady noted a couple of Greenshanks and juv Ruff still by Peffer Burn, also an adult Med Gull (unringed). Off Ferny Ness, now 35 Long-tailed Ducks, majority beautiful males, showing well close in; 3 Red-necked Grebes, 2 Slav, could not see our little friend (returning BNG) again though.

2 ad Med Gulls by Seton Burn towards dusk, beautiful light but no camera with me!

[Several Shag darvics read at Seton and Dunbar, details to follow.]

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