Friday, 5 September 2008

Somewhere under the Rainbow.

The weather wasn't great today but the sea provided some good birds, even though they weren't close enough to photograph. This morning there were loads of Gannets and Common Terns going through, and before I got there Jack had had both Arctic and Great Skuas and five Sooty Shearwaters. In the hour and a half from 10.30 to 12.00 there were two more Sooties and a three Arctic Skuas. Other birds seen by us were a party of six Common Scoter, a first winter mediterranean Gull and two Shags.

Jack spent more time sea watching than I did and the totals for the day can be found on the Bockhill pages of the KOS site. This afternoon we watched the Black Watch cruise ship arrive and as it turned towards the harbour at Dover it leaned over a good few degrees, probably upsetting a few coffee drinkers.

In an hour or so this afternoon I saw four or five Sooty Shearwaters and at least eight Arctic Skuas, in addition there were still a lot of Common Terns going south, now joined by quite a few Sandwich Terns. Birds were often best just after a squally shower had gone through, leaving rainbows over the sea.

As I said the birds were too far away to photograph, but, since I like Skuas, I though I'd do the Blue Peter trick: Here's one I prepared earlier. So it's back to Spitsbergen on 25th June 2005.

This picture shows the white quills of the feathers, a feature noticeable at a good range. In the Autumn not all adults show the central tail feathers as well as this bird, but the bird that came closest to day did show quite a good pointed projection.

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