24th Nov. 2016
Seawatch Hutoft Car Terrace.
Travelled over for my umpteenth visit to the coast this autumn. It’s getting late in the season for seabirds but, with the wind in the northern quarter I quite fancied it. I’ve logged some good seabirds this year during my many, many hours watching, but there have been a handful of good birds reported that have eluded me.
It was very cold, but dry at least. All I was seeing for the first couple of hours were seaduck. Of note was the quantity of eiders, a total of 101, mostly north, including a loose group of 55. Three long-tailed ducks went south, a little later the same three (I think), headed back north. Over 200 common scoters were seen and a female velvet scoter was diving very close inshore in the breaking waves. A few shelduck, 10 gannets, 33 brent geese, a few wigeon and a couple of teal were all mostly north. Just the one skua was seen, distantly.
Late morning I walked down to another birder (Derek Lorand) that had been positioned a couple hundred yards away all morning. Asking if he’d seen much, he informed me that he’d been watching a leach’s petrel that had dropped onto the sea. We watched together for a bit, but concluded that it must have drifted south in the strong current. Half an hour passed, then I picked it up (or another?), coming north towards us really close inshore over the waves. It was a ‘now you see me now you don’t’ display as it passed by seemingly inches above the surface. Nice.
Mid morning a flock of fifteen snow buntings flew low over the car park, south. Later on ten went north. Sanderlings scurried along the shore, 25 curlews flew north and a single turnstone flew along the beach.
The leach’s petrel is my 243rd Lincolnshire species this year. (BOU).