Saturday, 10 September 2011

Will this wind....?

Every year we get wind in the autumn (actually, I get wind all the time, but that’s another matter), and every year I go out looking for any stray seabirds that might have been blown inland by it. A bit silly when you think about it – if I really wanted to see seabirds I could go to the coast and see thousands of them. But no, I have to go and look for them in Leicestershire and Rutland.

So last week when it had been windy for a day or two, I went to Rutland Water and Eyebrook Res in the hope of finding seabirds. I saw a few bits and pieces – 7 Knot at Eyebrook (the equal fifth biggest flock ever in the county!!!) a Black Tern, an Arctic Tern, a couple of Turnstones and loads of Yellow Wagtails (is anywhere else in the country getting exceptional numbers at the moment, or is it just Rutland Water?). But no seabirds.

This isn’t actually that surprising – in all the years I’ve been going out in autumnal winds looking for inland seabirds (at least 25), I’ve only ever found a few – Sabine’s Gull and Little Auk at Rutland Water (the former on a day when it wasn’t even particularly windy) an Arctic Skua at Swithland Res, a couple of Great Skuas and a few Grey Phalaropes. I’ve seen all the other ‘regulars’ over the years – Fulmar, Gannet, Leach’s Petrel and Manx Shearwater, but not personally found any of them.

Of course the day after I went out last week there was a Manx Shearwater at Eyebrook. Arse. Granted, it was ‘well fucked’ to quote the beast, and predictably found dead the next morning, but a Manx Shearwater nonetheless.

But there is still hope – the forecast for the next few days is for even stronger winds. I shall be out looking from Tuesday/Wednesday onwards I think.

9 comments:

laurence.d said...

Yeah,quite a few sites in herts and essex have had yellow wag counts in the 20,s and 30,s recently.

The Leicester Llama said...

20s and 30s are normal for Rutland Water in the autumn, but one day last week there were up to 300 just around Lagoon 1! And there were many others away from the reserve. Autumn flocks peaking in the hundreds were commonplace 30+ years ago, but this is unprecendented in recent years.

beast said...

Many thanks Andy for attaching the vid of the much missed master of comedy Peter Cook...[i just mildly pissed myself at the peak of that sketch]...class...!

I too will be out over the next few days looking for more 'fucked up' seabirds...[white faced storm petrel off the island at Eye Brook would do]...or more realistically i'd settle for a long-tail skua and hope for it to be in a better condition than 'that' manxie..poor buger...

The Leicester Llama said...

My favourite line in that sketch is "you're speaking too softly for the human ear, which is what I am equipped with'. Classic Peter Cook.

John Hague said...

I went birding with Alan Tilmouth who was discussing the large flocks of Yellow Wags over the last few days. We were considering where the hell they've come from as Northumberland has only a few pairs left.

Did anyone ever try to separate the birds to race or were they all flavissima?

This brought up another topic that both Alan and I agreed on and one that I was prompted to discuss by reading Bill Oddie's Gripping Yarns... why don't the birdnews services report large or unusual movements of commoner species?

The Leicester Llama said...

According to Tim there were around 300 roosting on Lagoon 1 for three evenings last week, but all gone now. I assume they were flavissima, but you wouldn't be able to separate juvs anyway, which is what most of the ones I saw were.

John Hague said...

I'm sure Martin Garner would want to try and split the juvs Andy...

It is interesting though why such large numbers and not just in VC55. Dave and I have had at least two on every vismig session, itself unusual.

Has Yellow Wag come back from the brink in Britain (I don't think so) or have these birds come from elsewhere?

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Andy,as John said I've had small flock of Yellow Wags at the mammoth and Cossington. This is unusual for the Soar Valley, as we only get one's or two's in the last few years.

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Forgot to say I also had a group of 12 "Alba" Wagtails on the waste ground next to the Hope and Anchor pub in the last day or so. Maybe there is a big movement of Wagtails going on?...