Tuesday 21 March 2023

First Gannet, more Stonechats and.......a mysterious fin

The lightish SW continues, heavy showers till mid morning, then just overcast.

Pete managed a seawatch:
Gannet 2 - first records this year
Guillemot 1
Harbour Porpoise 2
Tomorrow should be more productive for seawatching.
One of our Grey Wagtails, colour ringed 08/09/22 was seen at Earlswood Lakes, near Solihull, Warwickshire today 170km SSE.  Almost certainly on spring passage but could be late wintering departee (see sidebar for scheme details).

South shore (MD)
Two visits again, a check from the saltmarsh to the harbour during the morning showers and just a check from saltmarsh to Red Nab in the fine afternoon.
Pale-bellied Brent goose 2 on Red Nab in the morning
Wigeon 47
Shag 1 immature on wooden jetty
Kittiwake 1 - 2nd calendar year on No.1 outflow (and none in the harbour)
2cy Kittiwake 

Rock Pipits 6 - 2 on Red Nab, 1 along the sea wall, 3 near lighthouse including one on harbour wall above the nest hole.
Meadow Pipits 16 - 4 north past roundhead, then on the walk back from the waterfall after a particularly heavy shower 12 lifted from the scrub near the lighthouse and continued north.
Chiffchaff 2 grounded near the waterfall by the same heavy shower (plus 1 passed through my garden early afternoon)
Wheatear 7 in the morning 4 in the afternoon could have been the same birds.
Stonechat 13 - the morning birds were being grounded by the showers then continuing north when the rain eased. 2 male and 2 female feeding together on saltmarsh before heading off. No more seen till 2 female near the lighthouse. On the return there were 2 individual females on saltmarsh and again both were seen to head off north. So 8 in the morning but none remained when I left.
In contrast, the afternoon birds just wanted to feed and showed no inclination to move on. There were 5 feeding together in the NE corner of the saltmarsh (2 male plus 3 female) they headed in front of me a while before returning to the NE corner.
One of this afternoon's males also had a white rump, but not as pronounced as yesterday's male.

There is plenty of flotsam in the corner and they seemed to be finding plenty to eat.
This is one of the females

Howard took these shots of a fox on the heliport today

This is where the "mysterious fin" comes in. During Pete's morning seawatch, a dark lump on the water was drifting into the bay and periodically sticking up a big fin attracting the attention of gulls - Description wise this could be a Sunfish, but unlikely, apart from being extremely rare, there would be no reason for the gulls to be attracted to it. Possibly a member of the shark family scavenging a floating carcass. This would explain the gulls, but not really the large fin. Tope are the largest of the shark species routinely found in the bay, they can be large, but do not really have a very prominent dorsal fin - the mystery remains (MD)

Janet's camera has packed in! She's sent it to see if it can be repaired, but either way it may be some while before her valued contribution of pictures resumes. Fortunately she will still be out and about and will report what she sees.