Despite the clear skies and completely calm conditions at dusk yesterday, this morning I woke up to heavy rain and a pretty hefty southerly wind. It had to be worth a sea watch!
The conditions were really tough, it was really hard to find shelter from the wind and spells of heavy rain often hampered visibility. But I stuck it out and 06:20 - 07:40 from Spot On Kiosk produced (all west);
6 Common Scoter
2 Great Northern Diver (1 sp 1 wp)
3 Manx Shearwater
1 Shearwater sp. (annoyingly I know it was a Sooty, just didn't get enough on it)
It was the Sanderling that were most impressive. Flocks of three and 22 flew in off and then flew low west along the beach, and a flock of six did the same but landed in between (photos below). When the flock of 22 went by the six flew up and joined them, making a single flock of 28 birds. This is easily the biggest single flock of Sanderling I've ever seen here. There were a further three Sanderling shortly after on the Estuary, along with two Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and eight Whimbrel. I think I'm right in saying that the peak spring Sanderling passage is usually a bit later than the main Dunlin migration, and today's observations would certainly fit that...
I love seeing waders downed on the beach during spring rain - so so thrilling! Resting on the beach in front of you one minute, then off on their way to their breeding grounds the next...