Sunday, 27 August 2017

Strumble Head (27 Aug 17)

Time: 0600 - 1400
Weather: Cloudy, bright.
Wind: AM - Calm.  PM - SW (F1)
Notes: I should re-draft the "best conditions for Strumble guidelines - Strong SW followed by Strong NW => No wind at all."  Another very enjoyable watch with lots of birds and dolphins on view for the whole watch.  Lots of bait balls so obviously lots of food out there.  Highlight of course was the moulting summer plumage WWBT.

White Winged Black Tern - 1 (Moulting adult summer).  (0800 - 0930). 

Three visiting birders joined me shortly before 8am.  Just after 8am one of them said he had "something a bit different close in".  As I was looking for it he said "I think it is a Black Tern".  I got onto it shortly after and said - yes well done... but almost immediately the alarm bells started to go off:  White tail / lower rump, back darker than upper wings "saddle effect" and then it showed the under side - clincher - moulting black under wing coverts.  I grabbed my Collins Bird Guide to double check my suspicions and then declared to the three birders that it was a WWBT not a Black Tern.

It was feeding only about 100yards offshore just right of "1230" in typical marsh tern habit.  Over the next 1.5 hours it fed just in front of us in between 10-15min rests on one of the bouys - often precariously - seemed to struggle to keep balance.  At about 0930 we got distracted by a Skua and lost track of the Tern.  We suspect it may have gone into the bay.

One of the birders got some photos and I have asked him to email them to me - I will post up here when I hopefully receive them - possibly Tuesday when they get home.

Arctic Skua - 7 (3J, 3D, 1P)
Great Skua - 1
Sabine's Gull - 1 (Juv)
Mediterranean Gull - 2 (1stW)
Sandwich Tern - 12
Comic Tern - 14
Black Tern - 1
Common Scoter - 221 (46F, 175M)
Teal - 3
Pintail - 2
Curlew - 2
Whimbrel - 1
Redshank - 3
Dunlin - 21

Common Porpoise - Lots across the whole vista and for the whole watch.
Common Dolphin - Again lots of animals.  I did some early pod counts of 15, 15, 20, 25 and 30 but gave up as we were seeing them on every scan.  Maybe 100-200 animals in total.
Sunfish - 2