30 Aug 2009

Strewth mate, its a Pom.

With a strong westerly blowing and our spiritual leader at Bridges of Ross for his annual bit of craic it was left to Frank and me to uphold the honour of the Wirrals seawatching tradition on Friday evening. Full of expectation we scanned the restless horizon from the Gunsites car park. Nothing. With enthusiasm severly waning a solitary Gannet was all we had to show for our endeavours until David King and his CADOS stalwarts Roger & Don rang to say they'd got a Pom Skua heading into the Mersey from Perch Rock. Panic ensued as we shot off for the short journey to New Brighton only to get half way there when David rang again to say it was on its way out!

Stopping the cars by the Coastguard Station Frank jumped out whilst I tried to untangle my tripod legs from the rear seat belts. A bellow from Frank had jumping out in quick time to see a full adult Pomarine Skua complete with the only cutlery the average couch potato or Utd fan will ever be able to use in their lives!!! Fantastic - a scarce bird on the Wirral. As we watched it disappeared out to sea only to reappear again chasing a gull. Unfortunately the camera (and my binoculars) were still in the Landrover and by the time I'd retrieved both the bird had flown to far away. Nice one David.

Carrying on watching from the same vantage point for another 30 minutes paid dividends with 2 Arctic Skuas beating into the wind and a solitary Manx Shearwater heading the same way.

With the tide ebbing a few waders started to appear and a small flock including Redshank, Sanderling, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit made a nice group photo.
Satisfied with the result and freezing cold we headed for home only to reconvene Saturday night back at the Gunsites were despite our best efforts in appalling weather all we found was a single Arctic Skua and a group of 13 Manx Shearwaters. Still it did give us all a chance to gossip and catch up on local news.

Once again I returned home with hair full of sand and optics salt encrusted. During the day news of an American Black Tern at Farmoor Reservoir Oxforshire didn't fill any of us with much enthusiasm as this race has yet to be recognised as a full species even by the American Ornithological Union. However, with not much else to entertain us Frank & I made the trip Sunday and caught up with this strikingly different looking bird alongside a Black Tern and White-winged Black Tern. It certainly looked different but I do wonder how an abberant Black Tern can be ruled out.

Finally, just to prove not all this weekends photographic efforts were as monochromatic & crap as the ones above, an in focus photo of a Herring Gull at Leasowe.

More locally alarm calls from the local House Martins whilst mowing the lawn Saturday caussed me to look up in time to see a Hobby chasing and catching one unfortunate individual before departing to enjoy its meal.

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