Sunday, 6 March 2011

North, See?

The wind was in the North and yet I was bobbing about somewhere in the southern North Sea. Due to stuff beyond my control I cant say where but can reveal that at one point we were able to see dutch water. I was joined by a cantankerous Scot, an enthusiastic native of Suffolk and one of the lasses at work plus a host of British and Polish crew. The weather held and we had a very good survey for March.

I had had a 'bug' prior to going away and for obvious reasons am a little cautious when my alimentary canal is playing up at sea. Fortunately I needn't have worried as my 100% spew free record at sea remains unblemished.

2 days was the sum total of time bobbing and we worked every moment of daylight. This led to some excellent sightings, pride of place for me was mid-morning on the second day - an adult dark morph Pomarine Skua sans spoons, for all the world looking like a compact Bonxie which is what at 3 metres distance I initially called it as not expecting anything else. A touch of perspective showed it was uniform chocolate brown with a more compact shape (not a flying barrel). It hung around off the back before clearing off. This was only my second Pom and my first on survey so I was dead chuffed.

Other highlights included a couple of small skeins of departing Dark-bellied Brent Geese which tallied with the mass exodus to the continent we had been alerted to. Good numbers of Red-throated Diver moved mid-morning both days and amongst these was a single Black-throated Diver. The usual suspects were about with a large passage of intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gulls occurring.

The painful bit of the survey is evaluating what I missed, not too bad this time - 2 Little Gulls and a small group of Little Auks were the best while the rest is headed up by a Puffin. Little Auk is annoying as its not a guarenteed year tick but the others I will let slide...

We arrived back at Hull this morning at 6 and subsequently my intestines rebelled. Off the boat thankfully...

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive