Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Visibility has fallen steadily over the last 48 hours or so, making any sort of observational work difficult. Before the fog really got a hold we had fairly blustery conditions with a SE wind of Beaufort 6. I watched a distant, long-winged, brownish bird banking hard in the wind, then arc high over the wave crests. I could just make out a pale 'horseshoe' on the rump and convinced myself I was watching a cory's shearwater. I felt rather peeved when the bird eventually came much closer and revealed itself as a gannet- just goes to show that even when you think you have the basics of seabird ID sorted it is still possible to make mistakes! Ooops! Two great skuas were rather more straightforward as they did a relatively close flyby.

Three hours later we were in calm conditions with fog banks rolling in. Today visibility has generally been less than 200 metres. The only birds seen were a subalpine warbler, and a chiffchaff that stayed onboard overnight and new in was a rather damp looking sedge warbler- moving around some stored equipment like a small rodent and occasionally leaping out for a protein rich moth! Great to see this bird at length in the open and unable to dive into thick cover like the ones at home! Interestingly, I noted that this bird would 'crouch and freeze' in a head down posture between moth attacks. Not sure if this is normal Acrocephalus behaviour or a ready adaptation to the lack of cover?

crouch and freeze posture

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