Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Splash Point, seaford

in an two and a half hours of seawatching at Splash Point today, SE winds looked promising, and we saw some good birds, but it wasn't a classic day.

Dad and I started at 7.00, with the first bird we saw being...

a White Wagtail!
It was walking in the middle of the road, 30 yards back from the carpark at Splash Point, as we drove along. First priority, don't run it over(!), second priority, have a closer look at the pied wagtail, which is now deeply indebted to us, and realise it is in fact the Pied's much scarcer cousin! Sharifin Gardiner and Dick Gilmore were alreadt at Splash, and had seen an Arctic Skua and a few other things without us. During an hor and a half until 9.30, To start with, we saw mainly Common Scoter (we saw about 150 overall), and they were by far the most numerous species during the moring. We also saw 25 Sandwich terns, a similar number of Brent Geese, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Mediterraena Gulls, 2 Teals and a Velvet Scoter, along with 2 Meadow Pipits, amd presumably the White Wagtail, coming in off the sea. Some o the Common Scoter were close in, and I managed to separate males and females within the flocks that were reasonably close in, the male/female ratio was approximately 3/1, though I don't remember very specifically. One flock of 10 Common Scoter settled 100 yards offshore, giving excellent views throgh the scope, with the males yellow bills very noticeable. Another flock of about 15, flying high above the sea a dn also about 100 yards out, had a female Velvet scoter in it, the first time I have seen this species locally and only the second time I have managed to pick one out in a scoter flock. the two Mediterranean Gulls were passign with 5 Sandwich Terns, which went through in small groups of 4-10 througout the morning. One flock of Brent Geese, seen from the car as we were leaving, were flying directly over the beach, and it looked like they would go directly over the groyne and the watching Dick Gilmore and Matt Eade, but taking one look at the two men with binoculars they came to their senses, and dramatically swerved around the groyne at the last possible moment. However, despite their impressive flight co-ordination and escape manouveres, Matt still managed a photograph, see here.

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