Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ventnor seawatching

Dunno what happens between Sussex and Portland but the Island tends to disappoint when it comes to seawatching, so I don't do much of it nowadays, but the big numbers of Razorbills in Dorset lately prompted me to see what was happening in local waters. It doesn't take long staring at the sea to be reminded: Ventnor is not Portland. But I was happy with what I did see this morning, my count of 2,350 Razorbills east is actually a county record. They were coming in fits and starts, at times looking quite impressive, biggest flock 60, but the viz prevented me picking up all the distant ones. And they look way cool, much better than Guillemots. I stayed until I had to move.... ah, standing for hours in a northerly wind, till I lose the feeling in my toes and my fingers are so cold I can't jot down numbers, staring at little specks whizzing by in the 'heat haze' (yeah right), this is nostalgia at its best, I used to look forward to this! There wasn't much else on the go, the usual suspects - a trickle of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Common Gulls, ten RTDs, a few Fulmars. And of course some Brents (17) heading up-Channel, you can always count on them to get their spring on stupidly early. A pair of Peregrines came in off, the female carrying something quite bulky - an auk perhaps?? I walked along the front to Bonchurch to see if that Water Pipit was there again this winter. It was, and flushed up from the revetment west of Monks Bay before foraging on the cliff face. So it's back for its 3rd year but this is the first report I've heard this winter. I couldn't finish the morning without seeing a decent gull of some sort :-). Scanning through a feeding flock of gulls, Gannets, auks and divers fairly close inshore I picked out a 2yr YLG.

Water Pipit on the cliff face, taken from video

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