It was beginning to look like our much anticipated skua passage was going to pass us by this year. The last few weeks has been dominated by winds coming in from the east – a direction which is pretty much useless for skuas on the Solway. With a day off work today and the wind direction looking a little more promising I decided to see if anything was moving through on the incoming tide. It turned out to be a decent couple of hours actually, I had 9 Pomarine Skuas (a flock of 6 adult pale morphs, and then a flock of 3 which included 2 beautiful dark morph birds), 1 Arctic Skua and at least 3 Bonxies. The 3 Poms were on view for about 45 minutes, and they were still on the water when I left, occasionally giving superb views as they ‘hung’ in the wind.
A large raft of Common Scoters drifted in and I went through them several times hoping to find a Velvet. Bizarrely there was a single drake Tufted Duck amongst them. However when they flew a few hundred metres I’m sure I briefly saw a scoter with white in the wing, so I rattled off a few pics – and boy I’m glad I did!!!
Despite searching through them on the water I failed to relocate it so I didn’t think anything more of it, and it wasn’t until I went through my photos this evening that they confirmed what my eyes had seen. Get in, a real rarity up here, and only my 3rd ever on the Solway.
Other bits included a Swift, a single Artcic Tern, lots of Whimbrel and a flock of about 70 Kitts.
I yomped down to the hide at North Plain early evening hoping to see the Wood Sand that had been seen earlier, no sign unfortunately but there was 3 Garganey there – 2 drakes and a female. I also saw and heard my first gropper of the year. So a nice few hours out.