Monday, 21 May 2018

I must go down to the sea again

I really should do more sea watching, but when you spend most of your birding time in land-locked Surrey then there is a major flaw in that plan...

Anyhow, the day started cloudy with just the merest hint of precipitation. First bird after stepping out of the observatory back door was a Hobby, quickly followed by a Grey Plover - birds were moving and the day seemed to possess promise. Fast forward seven hours and I had spent a largely fruitless morning on the point and reserve. Dave W had had some sea watching success however, so from 13.30 hrs I took myself off to the beach for what turned out to be a splendid four hours.

At first there was little to suggest that much was going to happen, but then the terns started to move, mostly Commics, and a steady eastward passage was underway. There then appeared to be a logjam in this onward movement, as a mass of birds gathered to the west of the patch and started feeding. Scope views revealed further birds way out. I estimated at least 800. The release of these birds was just as sudden as their gathering, as flocks started to break off and carry on eastwards, coming closer in the process and revealing Black Terns to be in their number (81 passed east), along with two Little Terns and a few Arctics. It was tremendous birding, with the Commic Tern total reaching 1700. To add icing to this ornithological cake was a single, splendid, light-phase Pomarine Skua which showed off its spoons as it magestically headed east. Marvellous stuff.


  1. I must go down to the sea the lonely sea and sky....

    1. I left my shoes and socks there - I wonder if they're dry?

      Spike Milligan

    2. Belinda, you are quite correct!