Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Sea Watch fever

Today I've ended up with eye strain, some interesting birds, but some disappointment. I had three sessions of staring down the scope looking at the sea, in total about five hours, sometimes in great light and at other times peering into the gloom as a squally shower went through. At this time of year we live in the hope of seeing some close seabirds, especially one of the groups of Pomarine Skuas that come through. They can usually be tracked along the coast, from Selsey Bill to Beachy Head, then on to Dungeness. When they get that far we've normally got about an hour before they reach us. If the wind is right and we're in luck, they can be quite close, otherwise they are either tiny specks or slip by unnoticed. Today the forecast was for a good south easterly breeze, and that was the case this morning but it moved round to south-west this evening. The first watch was the most productive for me with some good views of Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua, a strong passage of terns that included some Arctic Terns, a single Black Tern as well as many Common Terns and Sandwich Terns and a continuous stream of Gannets. I got a quick glimpse of a Manx Shearwater but I think the group that stuck it out later this evening saw a few more. There were a few divers, which were all far enough away to be a bit problematical. Groups of waders were also quite well out but we were able to identify some quite large flocks of Bar-tailed Godwits and a few Whimbrels. No Poms but there is still hope tomorrow.

Today Tim and Gloria were supposed to be moving into Foxley. Despite the building work still going on outside the inside was beginning to look like a home when I was give a tour last week. I don't think they quite made it, and if they did I'm intrigued with the thought, if Gloria needs to go for a p** in the night will she have to use the loo outside?

Foxley is not the only building work going on in the neighbourhood. On our starboard flank the bungalow is being converted to a house. As is the modern way with big renovations it is cocooned in a plastic tent. This seems to be suffering in the strong south-westerlies, with gusts up to 44 mph, and now it has come apart even more than in the photo above.

The flapping plastic is making a noise like a long thunder roll and even the always present Dunnock, on the hedge by our drive, is finding his song drowned out.
The weather was so poor last night I didn't run the moth traps.

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