Saturday, 4 December 2021

Little gull

 Very strong overnight winds, from the west in the morning but veering more WNW after lunch. Some very heavy rain, hail and sleet showers.

The last time we had a gale I said that I thought of Pintail as the "masochistic duck", today I walked along the south sea wall twice, the first time at the peak of the storm. Mmmmm, I wonder what the Pintail think of me! (MD)

South shore.
Mid morning towards high, very high, water. Walking out along the seawall, the rain was being driven hard into my face, after a while I think it stopped for a few minutes. I only say think as water was still being driven into my face, but now it tasted salty! The reason I am painting this picture is to put the following clip into prospective, this bird is flying into the wind before hunkering down on the sea wall. See if you can identify it, you may need to watch in slow motion - answer at the end of today's post.

By the time I'd reached the round head it was getting towards high water, it was wild! This is the "view" looking south from behind the lighthouse, a solitary large gull making an appearance, I didn't rush out to identify!

In contrast, this is the view from the same area in the afternoon, the wind was still very strong, but had eased to a point where the large gulls could hang easily on it as it lifted up from the sloping sea wall.

In the background of the above clip you can see No.1 outflow heading out to sea. It was at the very end of that outflow that the Little Gull was feeding. I didn't see it in the morning, but the outflows were not visible then. But it was showing well albeit distantly at 14:20.
Adult Little Gull

This clip clearly shows the Little gull plus the location:

Today's, hard won list:
Little gull 1 adult (Little gulls don't always merit a red highlight, but they have been scarce this year, I think this is only the second record for 2021 (one 29/03/21)).
Wigeon 30 in saltmarsh bay at high water 78 resting on the shore in the afternoon 
Red-breasted Merganser 4 together flying west against the wind at high water
Jack Snipe 1 flushed from behind the earth embankment next to the saltmarsh at high water.
Song Thrush 2 together on foreshore in the afternoon 
Plus this morning's "mystery" bird. This is the sequel to the clip at the top of the post, sorry about the juddering, but at this point I could barely stand!
So, a Kingfisher! When first seen, it was actually flying low over the tumultuous sea at Red Nab, my first thought was a Petrel but a look with binoculars revealed it for what it was. Fortunately I had my back to the wind, so I tried to get my camera out in time to film it, but by then it had returned to the shore and I only managed the brief in flight shot before it hunkered down. Presumably this is the same bird with a nice sheltered pond not 500m away. I've no idea why it was here in the thick of the storm, or why it felt the need to fly out over the sea. I left it where it was and it was still there when I looked back from the foreshore.