Wednesday, August 09, 2023

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Girdleness ~ 09/08/2023

🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Wednesday 9th August 2023 ☀️ 18C ~ Wind N @ 2MPH ~ Today, I went for a walk around Girdleness headland and had my first late summer sea watch mid-afternoon. According to recent reports, there has been an increase in activity along the northeast coast with birds on the move and I was hopeful of connecting with my first Skuas of the year. 

An obliging Dunlin along the harbour path.

As I walked along the harbour inlet, I noticed the usual gathering of Eiders and counted eleven Red-breasted Mergansers, some of which seemed to be from this year's broods. A few Curlews on the rocks, plus a couple of Rock Pipits and several Oystercatchers. To my surprise, a Dunlin suddenly appeared on the path and allowed me to get reasonably close for a few photos before he made off. 

Common Whitethroat along the Battery wall.

It was a pretty quiet walk up to Torry Battery with several Swallows skimming the golf course, one or two Skylarks and plenty of Linnets around the gorse. The best was a couple of Common Whitethroats along the Battery wall.

An Arctic Skua drifting south ~ One of two seen today. 

I spent an enjoyable 90 minutes from the foghorn where there was a decent passage of Arctic Terns, along with a smaller number of Sandwich Terns. Gannets and Kittiwakes drifted by frequently and the odd Bottle-nosed Dolphin could be seen breaching occasionally. On the water, Eider, Guillemot, Razorbill, (2) Puffins and (2) Black Guillemot and it wasn't long before an Arctic Skua drifted south, my first of the year.

Great Skua ~ Just about to take out a passing Kittiwake.

During my 90-minute stay, I managed four Great Skuas (Bonxies) and also witnessed their aggressive hunting tactics firsthand, earning them the nickname "Pirates of the Sea." One of the birds attacked a Kittiwake, and another dove down to capture an unsuspecting Guillemot. (5) Common Scoter (north) and (14) Manx Shearwaters, also northerly were other notables but the best was my first Aberdeenshire Storm Petrol which passed at a distance but was easily recognisable by the white rump, size and gizz.