Sunday, 12 November 2017

More decent seawatching!

We've had a good run of seawatching this year with highlights up to today including Cory's Shearwater, Sabine's Gull, Storm Petrel and two White-billed Divers. We weren't as hopeful about today when we set off this morning, but were pleased to be proved wrong in the end!

We decided to start at Hadston Carrs and it wasn't long before we had our first Little Auk of the morning heading north. We stayed for two hours but it was pretty quiet with the highlight perhaps being a single Snow Bunting flying north past below the small cliff. Here's the totals for Hadston (09:30-11:30)...

2 Little Auk
10 Goldeneye
1 Long-tailed Duck
1 Little Egret
1 Snow Bunting
1 Great Northern Diver
3 Red-throated Diver
2 Great Crested Grebe

We then took a break for lunch and checked a quiet Druridge Pools before deciding to have another look at the sea from Snab Point. With rougher seas and the wind coming more from the north, our two and a half hours here were much more productive.

There were a few more Little Auks passing now and I got onto a distant Grey Phalarope which kept on disappearing behind waves. A second-winter Glaucous Gull suddenly appeared over the rocks and was close enough to make out the pale iris through binoculars. The Grey Phalarope reappeared much closer feeding in the surf and a second more distant bird flew north at speed shortly afterwards. After one had been seen earlier I was pleased to now be able add it to my finds list. Another finds tick for me came shortly afterwards when I picked up a lark flying straight towards us at distance. Despite the long range, its pale face was visible and as it got closer we could see that it lacked a white-trailing edge to the wings, confirming it as a Shore Lark.

It quietened down shortly after this but just as we were about to leave a Little Auk appeared flying over the rocks before landing in a rock pool, and I was able to get within a couple of metres of it,  providing easily my best ever views! The totals from Snab Point 12:45-15:20 were as follows...

2 Grey Phalarope
16 Little Auk
1 Glaucous Gull
1 Slavonian Grebe
1 Great Skua
1 Manx Shearwater
3 Goldeneye
1 Goosander
1 Grey Plover
1 Shore Lark

Little Auk - second photo taken on my phone without any zoom!

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