Friday, 11 May 2018

Seaford and Shoreham seawatches (11 May 2018)

Friday 11 May. A SE forecast had me at Seaford at 05:30 with Frank Lambert. We seawatched to 14:30, from 12:00 with Matt. It was a little disappointing despite the excellent company, the promise of an early Pom not really materialising further. I recorded the following flying east: 3 Red-throated and 12 Black-throated Divers, 229 Gannets, 108 Common Scoter, 7 Sanderling, 20 Whimbrel, 2 Pomarine Skuas (single pale morphs at 06:05 and 14:15), 1 Great and 14 Arctic Skuas (2 pale, 10 dark & 2 distant), 1 Mediterranean Gull (first-summer), 59 Sandwich, 210 Commic and 3 Little Terns and 21 auks of which 4 were close enough to identify as Razorbills. Of the Commics 39 were identified as Common and 48 as Arctic Terns. A Guillemot was seen on the sea and 2 Swallows came in. The best sighting however was  a Purple Sandpiper on the jetty showing some purple tones. The seawatch had quietened considerably, not that it was ever busy, and the light was becoming more difficult so we quit at 14:30 although it was no great surprise to see a tweet from Mat about 4 Poms that afternoon. I returned to the coast watching from the end of Shoreham Harbour from 17:10-19:10 seeing 52 Gannets, 18 Common Scoter, 37 Whimbrel, a flock of 4 Pomarine Skuas (2 pale & 2 dark at 19:03), 2 Arctic Skuas (1 pale & 1 dark) and 10 Sandwich and 3 Common Terns.

The flock of 4 Poms had first been seen at Hill Head in Hampshire at 17:03 and were tracked along the coast passing Selsey at 18:00 and Worthing at 18:45 before reaching Shoreham at 19:03. They ended up landing on the sea off Seaford at 19:58. Thanks to everyone who tweeted their progress, it was reassuring to know they were still coming even if they were a bit slower than expected.
Purple Sandpiper at Splash Point, Seaford
nice to see some purple tones on its mantle

I'm off now

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