Tuesday, 26 July 2011

There's a storm brewin'...

I've taken seawatching on as my new activity for the summer. I've just come back from St. Mary's in search of storm-petrels. I still had never seen any before today so was hoping to catch a glimpse of some. Caught up with the guys already in the hide, just managed to get a space between Simon and Tim just in time to see a flock of manx shearwater going past. Then within 20 seconds of setting up my scope, I saw a little black bird fly across and I lost it straight away again. After a few seconds it reappeared showing off it's white rump beautifully, then I knew I had my first storm-petrel. From 17:15 - 19:00, I saw 18 storm-petrels, 11 manx shearwater, 2 red-throated diver, 9 common scoter and a bar-tailed godwit. The storm-petrels, as well as being lifers can also go down on my patch list along with the red-throated diver which takes my St. Mary's total up to 106.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Autumn has come early! 19/7/11

My first post for quite a while now so I thought I had to write about St. Mary's. I started in the south bay, watching plenty of juvenile sandwich terns on the rocks, still yet to add roseate tern to me life list so this year I am especially looking out for them. I went for a walk around the lighthouse and came across some very unexpected visitors. I was watching the golden plover through my scope when I spotted a bigger wader in amongst the very smart-looking dunlin and turnstone, it was a red knot in fantastic summer plumage! Much bigger than all the others and very unexpected. There was also some very early summer-plumaged sanderling on the rocks as well. Just the purple sandpipers to come now! I left the island as the tide was coming in and did my first proper sea-watching session from the car-park. From 17:00 to 17:30 I saw: 25 Manx Shearwater, 4 Gannet, 12 Kittiwake and 15+ Sandwich Tern. Not bad for my first time and still early in the year so more to come yet!

Dunlin Knot, Dunlin and Sanderling