Saturday 8 February 2014

Manxie and Scaup Highlights plus Purple Sand Record

Second winter common gull with black marks in the tertials - Warren View football pitch

With the football pitches too water-logged to play on I had a bit of extra time birding today. I was drawn, like a moth to a flame, to the large gathering of herring gulls off the seafront. There has to be around 2000 birds present and I can confidently say I've grilled every single one several times over today. It seems so wrong that there is so little of interest among them. The best I could find was an aberrant herring with all white wing coverts but that's it. No white-wingers, no yellow-legged and no 'smiths' lookalikes. Rubbish!

Just a fraction of the gull flock that stretched several hundred metres along the beach.

The beleaguered Dawlish Town with a massive hole in the railway line.

Gull heaven - I've never seen such numbers off Exmouth and it feels so wrong that there are no white-wingers among them.

Male pied wag with tertials.

Another pied wag with middle tertials missing.

Kittiwake sheltering off the Leisure Centre.

I managed three separate visits to the seafront today and watched, with relative shelter, from the raised beach huts near the lifeboat station. Totals included 2 female eider, 1 great northern diver, 1 diver sp, 1 male long-tailed duck, 3 guillemot, c100+ kittiwake, c 50+ auk sp, 2 brent goose, 35+ fulmar (all pale and all south), 4 common scoter, c10+ gannet, 1 manx shearwater (south @ 1530), 20 turnstone and 2 scaup (towards Exe late pm). Elsewhere an adult mediterranean gull on Warren View football pitch and 2 peregrine and 1 kittiwake in the estuary from the Leisure Centre.

Field sketches of a close-in partially oiled guillemot and one of two scaup that flew towards the river from Orcombe Point this afternoon.

Last night I had a personal record count of 10 purple sandpipers on Maer Rocks. Didn't see any today though but not much of Maer Rocks was exposed this evening.

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