Monday, 5 May 2014

Seaford seawatches (4-5 May 2014)

5 May 2014.  I seawatched from 05:30-20:00.  Ewan was there when I arrived and stayed to the end, as did the late arriving Matt. JK & Simon were there almost as long with many other regulars putting in long sessions.  Boy was it worth it.  Ewan took his Sussex Pom tally to over 1000, very impressive.  My biggest Pom days had been 82 off Hove on 7 May 1981, 83 off Seaford on 18 May 2001 and 71 off Seaford on 4 May 2008.  Today I saw 128 (and missed another 2 or 3), including a flock of 11 and three of 10.  Our first was at 07:53 and the last at 19:29, with birds mostly passing during this period at intervals of less than half an hour. 10 of the Poms were dark morphs which, with full tails, are possibly even more impressive than pale ones.  

Pomarine Skuas flying east (left) off Splash Point, Seaford

Other birds seen by me were 32 divers (15 ID'd as Black-throated and 3 as Red-throated), 8 Brent Geese, a male Mandarin, 3 Teal, 904 Common Scoter, a female Velvet Scoter, Grey Plover, 20 Sanderling, 38 Bar-tailed Godwits, 79 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpipers, 34 Arctic Skuas (half dark), Great Skua, an unidentified skua (Pom/Arctic), adult Mediterranean Gull, 29 Little Gulls, 73 Black-headed Gulls, 181 Sandwich Terns, 708 Commic Terns (11 ID'd as Arctic & 131 Common), 84 Little Terns, a Black Tern, 9 Razorbills and 7 Guillemots.

4 May 2014.  I seawatched from 06:00-11:00 when I had a family commitment (25 wedding anniversary do).  The promise given by a Pomarine Skua pointed out to me by Mike O'Shea at 06:00 as I was getting my telescope out of the car failed to materialise and it was a fairly routine seawatch.  At least I was not overly concerned when I had to leave.  During my time at Seaford I also saw 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Shoveler, 436 Common Scoter, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers,  15 Bar-tailed Godwits, 16 Wimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers, Arctic Skua, 43 Sandwich Terns, 1 Arctic Tern and 12 Common Terns.  All were flying east.

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