18th April 2013 – My first Pomarine Skuas of the year…

When I got in from work last night at half past midnight I thought the winds were gonna take our roof off. And with the gales set to continue throughout most of today I was keen to get out this morning to see if there were any skuas going through. Unfortunately though the morning high tide was just before 6am (a couple of hours either side of high tide are usually the best for skuas). Like a numpty I decided to set my alarm for 6am – not a good idea considering I was going to bed at 1am!! Needless to say when it went off this morning I switched it straight off and went back to sleep – I was completely knackered! But like the other day I figured that the strength of the winds might be pushing skuas through well after the tide had dropped. So at about 0930hrs I finally arrived at the shelter at Bowness…

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– and almost the first bird I saw was a Bonxie – encouraging!

Bonxie flying in

Bonxie flying in

As I was on my own I felt I was probably missing far more than I was seeing. Still, there was plenty to watch, a few groups of Kitts came through, a few Red-throated Divers went in and out, 3 Common Scoters flew out, a Razorbill splashed down onto the water close to the shore, and an adult Little Gull gave a nice fly past. Every now and again I’d pick up another Bonxie flying in purposefully – I saw 7 in total during my 2 hours.

Bonxie with Chapelcross in the background

Bonxie with Chapelcross in the background

Then at 1024am I got onto my first Pom Skua of the year, a single pale bird flying in without hesitation, soon disappearing into the distance. Wow, even though I’ve seen several hundred I still a get a real buzz whenever I see these birds, particularly the first ones of the season – they are just fantastic birds. Then at 1055am I picked up 3 more skuas coming in, 2 Poms and an Arctic…

Pale Pom, dark Pom and dark Arctic on the right

Pale morph Pom Skua, dark morph Pom Skua, and dark morph Arctic Skua on the right

Superb!

Pale & dark morph Poms

Pale & dark morph Poms

Pale Pom

Pale morph Pom

Pale Pom

Pale morph Pom

Pale and dark Poms

Pale and dark morph Poms

Dark morph Pom

Dark morph Pom

Dark morph Pom

Dark morph Pom

Pale morph Pom

Pale morph Pom

So even though the tide was virtually out I was happy with what I’d seen, like I say I bet I missed plenty of other birds, it makes me wonder what I’d seen if I got up at 6am instead! The bushes around the shelter held my first Blackcap of the year and a couple of Willow Warblers.

An hours seawatch off Bowness early this evening produced 2 Poms floating in at 5pm (1 dark morph and 1 pale morph), and at least 5 Little Gulls lingering offshore with the Arctic Terns – a 1st summer, a 2nd summer, and at least 3 adults including one with a nice pinky flush to the underparts.

Adult summer

Adult summer

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Adult summer

Adult summer

Adult and 2nd summer

Adult and 2nd summer

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2nd summer

2nd summer

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About 20 Tree Sparrows in the garden today – and they’re using the boxes again…

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And a pair of Bullfinch feeding in our plum tree – here’s the male…

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One Response to 18th April 2013 – My first Pomarine Skuas of the year…

  1. Neil scott says:

    Fantastic posts over the last week or so mate

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