Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Goring Gap

I arrived at dawn for what turned out to be a steady but hugely satisfying seawatch. Waders were soon on the move, mainly Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel (72 and 24 in the end, respectively), with singles of Dunlin and Grey Plover thrown in. Skuas soon started as well, though never reached any lofty numbers, with four each of Arctic Skua and Bonxie. One of the Bonxies lingered offshore the whole morning, at one point shredding a gull/tern corpse on the water's surface, which it may well have killed. More importantly, one of the Arctic Skuas was tagging along with a group of three Pomarine Skuas in the distance as they tracked east. Despite the great range, they were in decent enough view for a minute or so and a very pleasing way to get my first of the year. These birds weren't picked up further west beforehand, at least not today, but made it to Splash Point 45 minutes later. Other seawatch highlights included 48 Mediterranean Gulls, 11 Common Scoters, a Red-throated Diver, two Fulmars, 50 Sandwich Terns, 28 Gannets and a Swallow. Two Yellow Wagtails flew over, as did 17 Linnets and a further five Swallows. The beach held 21 Turnstones, a Dunlin, two Sanderlings and four Oystercatchers. A quick walk around the Gap revealed just three Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs, a Green Woodpecker and a Whitethroat, though a Whimbrel flying over the fields was nice.

Pomarine Skuas (left/lower) and Arctic Skua [phonescoped]

Whimbrel flying over land