Now That’s What I Call…

… a Seawatch!

Flamborough Head: 11th September 2013

Paving the way, seawatching off Flamborough Head in evening of  9th Sept. produced a full breach Minke Whale, followed on 10th Sept. by 10’s of Sooty Shearwater, 1 juv. Long-tailed Skua, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 3 Blue Fulmar. The morning of 11th looked the most promising:

Joined by regulars Phil C., Craig T., Andrews L. and A., and several visitors, I watched from 6:15 to 9:30am. The day after the strongest NW winds. Some numbers from my time:

110 Sooty Shearwaters

4 juvenile Long-tailed Skuas

2nd winter Caspian Gull (6th record for Flamborough)

2 Balearic Shearwaters

1 adult Sabine’s Gull

2 Blue Fulmar

Plus quite a few Manx Shearwater, Arctic and Great Skuas, ducks including Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, Common and 1 Velvet Scoter, Tufted Duck, Red-throated Diver and Little Gull (and a wacky all-white Black-headed Gull).

2cy Caspian Flamborough 11.9.13

caspian Gull 2cy flam 11.9.13This 2nd winter Caspian Gull was a surprising bonus. Large gull regularly pass the head in front of the ‘seawatch spot’. This one caught my eye immediately. It dropped down as to look for food briefly and then flew through. Thankfully all got on it. Previous records from Flamborough include 4 juveniles (one here) and a 4th winter type (here) (thanks to Alan ‘Birdguides’ Tilmouth).

caspian gull 22nd winter Caspian Gull, Flamborough, 11 Sept. 2011

Blue Fulmar Flamb 10.9.13Blue Fulmar. Saw 5 birds- 3 on 10th and 2 on 11th Sept. This single D type (thanks Brett Richards) came close than most on 10th Sept.

sooty funny 10.9.13Sooty Shearwater. Flamborough is king when it comes to these. This odd bird on 10th Sept. has obvious paler area over the breast.

velvet and commonVelvet and Common Scoter. 11th Sept. I like to push the limits of what can be photographed on a seawatch. This Velvet Scoter was nearly ‘half way out’- which is a long way. I had to get someone to tell me when they passed a marker as I couldn’t reliably make them out through the view finder.

bonxieMoulting adult Great Skua. Modern DSLR cameras enable you to capture quiet a lot, even in murky light at long-range on a seawatch.


Casting back a week ago to Thursday 5th Sept. I took lovely daughter Abi on boat trip out of Staithes, North Yorkshire. This was part of exploratory trip with fab colleagues from Yorkshire Coast Nature. A recce. In flat calm conditions we had super views of up to 4 Minke Whale including large bull and few close seabirds, like the Sooty Shearwater below.

sooty staithes

Minke staithes

abi at staithesAbi does her ‘Titanic’ impression 😉

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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2 Responses to Now That’s What I Call…

  1. Phil Hyde says:

    Several folk in Lincs have been advocating taking as many photos as possible during sea watches as even with grot record shots you often get more from them than in a shaky scope view for 30 seconds, later to be written up through rose-tinted optics…

  2. I always photograph (even distant) birds when I’m seawatching. I use binoculars to get on the birds then a 50-500mm lens to get pics. I find it easier to try and ID from a sequence of photos than a distant moving dot. Most of these photos were taken while seawatching on the east coast of Scotland (mostly Fife Ness).

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