Sunday, 10 August 2014

10th August 2014 Birling Gap 6.30am - 1.30pm & 2.45pm - 4.15pm SW2 increasing to SW7 Overcast

Fulmar c.50 mainly E
Gannet c. 500 mainly E
Balearic Shearwater 2E (1E at 8.20 and back W at 8.22 reappeared E at 8.28 and immediately back W with a paler individual E at 11.25am)
Heron 1 circling high a long way out to sea at the time of the full strength of the wind at c.12.30pm
Shelduck 17E
Scoter 106E, 20W
Lesser Black-backed Gull 22 adults in field
Kittiwake c.350 mainly E
Sandwich Tern 4E
Common Tern 1E
Whimbrel 10 S out to sea
Auk sp. 1E
Swift 45 S out to sea
Swallow 1E

Shelduck passing Birling Gap
With the remnants of Hurricane Bertha forecast to pass along the English Channel we were hoping for She...arwaters but for the first 90 minutes were rewarded with little more than She...lduck! No doubt making their unique moult migration as most British birds migrate to the vast sandflats of Helgoland Bight on the German North Sea coast in late June and July not usually returning until November. Fortunately that was to change as Matt then kindly text with news of a Balearic Shearwater passing Splash Point heading in our direction that whilst took its time, presumably constantly back-tracking, reached us after 37 minutes. News of another at 10.10am may or may not have been our second an hour and a quarter later? Whilst there was something of a surge of Gannets when the winds were at their strongest around midday activity all but then ceased with us leaving when the wind, whilst still strong, had switched to due west.