13th October. Deadlock Broken

The only saving grace of coming home from Spurn in easterlies was the apparent flood of inland seabirds, mostly Gannets and Great Skuas. So filled with enthusiasm I hit the patch at first light, I say first light but at 07:30 it was still dark and in fact it didn't get light for another hour.

The rain was relentless and with the strong north easterly wind keeping the rain off optics and specs was near impossible - I really need to get some contact lenses sorted. In the gloom I picked up a Rock Pipit, a coastal species but by no means a lost seabird!

The first lap of the lake was fairly uneventful though the second lap was better. High up in the gloom I picked up an egret slowly heading south. Slow wing beats, long projecting black legs, an apparently pale bill and a neck like the Toilet Duck bottle referred to in an earlier post. Unfortunately after my first lap I'd ditched the camera in the car - due to the incessant rain - and now relied solely on my now fogged up bins, subsequently these were the only points that I picked up, but surely this was another Great White?

I was still in need of that all important patch year tick, having gone a full six weeks since the last one, and I finally got it when I picked up two crows mobbing an immature Marsh Harrier as it headed east. At last deadlock finally broken..

Despite getting soaked for 8 hours I was keen to get back the following morning. The rain and wind were even worse this morning and after getting drenched on the first round I sought shelter at least from the wind. This paid off when two Red-breasted Mergansers appeared in front of me, a new bird for the patch.

A return visit in the evening finally came up with a disorientated seabird - an Arctic Tern and two very wary Pink-footed Geese.

Having spent a total of 13 rain soaked hours on the patch this weekend I'm slightly miffed not to have a sniff of either a Gannet or a Skua - I'll probably see one from the bus on the way home tomorrow!

12th October. A Break

As compensation for not going to Shetland again Jo suggested, earlier in the year, that we might take in a short break on the East Coast during October. I settled on a few days at Spurn. Unfortunately we arrived just as one batch of easterlies finished and left the day that another wave arrived.

I did however manage a few bits and pieces with a couple of Firecrest and a Yellow-browed Warbler and a few amazing high tide wader roosts. On Thursday the wind swung north hitting speeds, at times, in excess of 50mph. As a result I spent the day sea watching and had probably one of my best spells ever of staring at waves on the Yorkshire coast, that included 4 Leach's Petrels, 50+ Sooty Shearwater, Grey Phalarope, 3 species of Skua; Arctic, Great and Pomarine.

Not suprisingly following a combination of high tide and high winds the road to the point was subsequently closed to vehicles. Having walked up to the point (for the first time ever) on Tuesday I was curious to see just how much damage the storm had caused:

The Rufous-tailed Robin at the point in the next few days, will require a 6 mile round walk.