I’ve seen three seas in less than three weeks – the Mediterranean, the Agean, and now the good old North Sea! I’ve copied and pasted most of this entry from my blog at Birdforum, so apologies if it’s any geekier than usual…

Today I was booked in to go on the RSPB’s skua/shearwater cruise from Bridlington. Having never seen any skuas or shearwaters in my life, I thought it would be a good way to tick off a few lifers, hopefully see some surprise migrators, and maybe even a few whales and dolphins. Sadly, the trip was called off due to bad weather, despite it actually being quite a nice day (although the sea was quite choppy, and I’d never claim to know maritime matters better than the captain of a boat).

Like a fool, I’d already bought a train ticket, and decided a day in Bridlington and Flamborough would be a good time to spend a Saturday anyway, and I’d be damned if the rail network was getting £24 out of me for an empty seat…

After finally getting to Flamborough Head on the bus and a walk (I’m not convinced I actually got off the nearest bus stop, but ah well), the first birds I saw were a pied wagtail and a wheatear, chirruping round the golf course. The wheatear was a UK first for the year, despite the fact I saw shedloads in Rhodes the other week!

Near the lighthouse there was a goldcrest in one of the trees, more wagtails, and large number of meadow pipits, a small flock of redwings, as well as a few swallows and martins. A kestrel hovered overhead, mobbed by angry swooping jackdaws. There were also large number of starlings and house sparrows, which are both sadly becoming something more and more notable.

Out to sea all the usual suspects – cormorants, shags, gannets, guillemots, a few red-throated divers, oystercatchers, and herring, common, black-headed, lesser black backed and greater black backed gulls.

And then, shearing across the water (as they do), what I’m almost, almost, almost positive was a Manx shearwater. I say almost, because the presense of immature gannets got doubts in my mind, and a total lack of emotion from any of the assembled birders also made me wonder – of course they may not have seen it, or be too “cool” to show excitement for such things!

(Why didn’t you ask anyone, you say? Partly due to the “not wanting to look like a twonk” factor, and partly because it had already vanished.)

Back in Brid, the usual array of gulls, a few redshanks, oystercatchers, and large numbers of turnstones and dunlins.

Not a bad day, but no skua cruise! Maybe next time…

(Oh and I’ve not forgotten about the birding meme, or trying desperately to name the lizards I saw in Rhodes. That may (or may not) follow tomorrow).


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My name is Pete

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