Saturday, 14 August 2010

Tern up for the books

Well I have had 2 fantastic days of seawatching with some ups and some downs!

On Friday it chucked it down with rain pretty much all day and with strong northerlies blowing and a Long-tailed Skua which I missed because of a dentist appointment I decided an afternoon session in the Obs was needed. I arrived at about 4:40 due to Sunderland traffic being so bad!

It was a fantastic session with good views of a few Sooty Shearwater, loads of Manx Shearwaters, Great Skuas, a few Arctic Skuas, and all the rest of the stuff one would expect to see on a seawatch. I was with local sea watching experts Mark N, and Paul H. Just before we where about to pack up and call it a day at about 7:00 Mark had a Shearwater heading north past the “North Bouy” I quickly picked it up and saw it as it sheared about in the fast moving waves. Eventual Mark N said something like “light phase Balearic Shearwater.” To which I was shocked and having come of the bird I got straight back on it and watched it headed away I got really good views bearing in the mind the light conditions and the speed it was heading away, and of course the distance! I wasn’t expecting a lifer, however I was dreaming whilst there that a Balearic would fly past and it became reality. Exciting and excellent stuff! A good bit of news is that on Friday the highest number of Roseate Terns ever recorded going passed the Obs was broken! (Hence title of blog post)

I was most pleased to hear in the Obs from Mark and Paul that Saturday morning was supposed to be good for seawatching. Having caught the seawatching bug a bit I gave in and decided I would go. So I woke up bright and early this morning at 4:45am and had a bite to eat, got ready and I was away! Sunderland was remarkably quiet will all the sane and sensible people in bed sleeping. I arrived at the Obs and was sitting down at about 5:45 and I was informed that I hadn’t really missed much as of yet, few! We had a fantastic 5-8 hours with quite a few Sooty Shearwaters, quite a lot of Manx Shearwaters, and a single Balearic in close! The Balearic was frustrating as everyone got on it when it was fairly close in and apparently views where fantastic and I just couldn’t get on the bird! I eventually got onto it but I got a pretty much back end view of the bird with 2 Manx Shearwaters, however I should count my blessings that I actually got onto it in the end. Let’s hope there is another chance of this happening again in the future. We also had loads of Great and Arctic Skuas, handful of Little Gull, and I saw 2 Roseate’s. I have to say that we had 2 really fantastic views of 2 Sooty Shearwaters that were really close in!

I dipped the Wryneck by about 30minutes this afternoon! Typical! But I have seen one before; again I should count my blessings.

Life List updates:
257 – Balearic Shearwater

Year List updates:
227 – Balearic Shearwater

Until next time, Foghorn out!
(Kittiwakes - Saturday - Mark Newsome)

(Sooty Shearwater - Friday - Mark Newsome)

(Balearic (left) and Manx (right) Shearwaters -
Saturday- Mark Newsome)


  1. Yep it's easy to catch the seawatching bug !

    A great post, keep it up.....