December 5th   Leave a comment

Another day of storms and heavy rain. The only thing to do is to look out to sea and watch what is passing. With being away and the short days I have not been in a position to have a good seawatch until today. I finally found a window of opportunity during daylight today to look through my telescope from my back garden. The last month has been good for little auks along the East coast and so I was hopeful to finally catch up with some. It seems to be every other year that we have a good little auk winter. There were a handful last winter, none the year before but 2013 was good. A series of big storms early in the winter with strong northerlies seems to be the key to little auks turning up in the Forth. It only took a few minutes this morning before I picked up a flock of six flying into the Forth past Crail. Little auks really are well named – they are tiny – barely starling size. They have a distinctive wobbly, flickering flight as if they can barely remain airborne except by maintaining a terrific speed. They behave like puffins in flight, only more so. When they land on the water it looks more like a crash as if they have finally given up their frantic struggle to stay airborne. I counted 216 passing in 30 minutes although were all far out and what I would call “technical” even through a telescope. All were headed into the Forth. If we continue to have bad weather with southerlies they might come in closer to Crail or even get washed up on the beach. Little auks are famous for spectacular “wrecks” when they get blown onto land and end up on garden ponds or even wet tarmac for a while before they get their bearings. Look out for a “baby puffin” anytime soon around Roome Bay or Harbour Beach.

Little auk

Little auk

Posted December 6, 2015 by wildcrail in Sightings

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