December 2nd   Leave a comment

I sea watched at Fife Ness for a half an hour before work on the 30th and today on the basis that if you don’t buy a lottery ticket you can never win. There are still so many good sea birds in the North Sea and they were topped up by the storm of the 27th. Yesterday a Brunnich’s guillemot went past Fife Ness and there have been a slew of other sightings along the East coast. The last local Brunnich’s guillemot recorded was an ill bird in Anstruther Harbour (see September 25th 2016) allowing close and easily identifiable views. But a flyby is a different matter. I didn’t have anything unusual past that on my two quick sessions, but I looked very closely and critically at every guillemot and razorbill going past. It will have improved my ability to identify auks and pick out a Brunnichs when I do finally get lucky. I suspect that there are quite a few in the North Sea in little auk winters but it takes a brave or very persistent birder to call one out. It has been an odd winter for auks really. First the very big numbers of guillemots and razorbills close inshore in September, then the higher numbers of black guillemots, then lots of little auks and finally lots of puffins close inshore. Today puffins were one of the commonest auks past Fife Ness (although small numbers of everything today). I saw little auks on both days, but they are becoming scarcer now. And another great northern diver past this morning. I am now well into double figures for great northerns. In some winters I might be lucky with one or two. Another Arctic bird further southand much more common than usual this winter.

A common guillemot – sadly not a dark headed, white underwing, rugby ball (John Anderson)

Posted December 2, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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