Friday, 5 July 2013

You Couldn't Make It Up!

So after an early start to work today (again), and a drop into Wessie H first (one LRP, three RP, six juvenile Pied Wags and little else), it was about 2:00pm when I viewed BirdGuides and saw the biggest of the four white squares on the map.  Quick message left for The Guv (TG) as he and I were the only two birders between Land's End and John O'Scrotes (the famous 60s Scottish male porn star!) who were yet to connect with 'that tern'.

Off like Ms De Vil, and at Pegswood, the dreaded news that it had 'gorn orff' seaward.  Twat!

Slower drive back to work, and a response from TG and a wee chat whilst en route.

At my desk, a call from TG to say he had a text from another of his underlings and the bird was there.  'Are you sure it's not a delayed text you've had, as BirdGuides (I was looking at it) had it as away and not returned?', says I.

A few minutes later, and the word was it was deffo there.

Back into the phone box and a quick change into C De Vil and off back north.

Following TG from Woodhorn to the straight between Cresswell Ices and the north car park, plenty of cars and scopes and blokes.  Seconds to ornithological gismsville and counting.  And then a fecking huge RAF Hercules flying low and east over the pond and all heads turned to the sea.

As I got out the car, it was away and not ticked.

In the words of Sir Royston Vasey, I was as sick as f*ck.  Yes, f*ckin' sick.

So a few words from those present suggested it had been in and out more than John O'Scrotes' pork sword and therefore worth a wee wait.

The warm-up act were two Arctic Skuas coming over the pond and giving the terns some hammer.  Excellent!

And then the glorious moment as in from the shore to the south of the pond was the main event.  A superb bird, larger than I thought, somewhat Long-tailed Skua in appearance with a soupcon of Frigatebird.  The former resemblance might explain why the indigenous terns never left it alone, chasing it literally from pillar to post until it bogged off twards the briny at 4:25pm

No photos, you'll be pleased to hear, just one of me asking a few other birders if it was still there!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Very, very sea sick

So for those who feel the public sector are overpaid, take heed.  Yesterday, my laughingly-called eight-hour shift started at 6:30am.  The planned interaction at 6:30pm with Onychoprion anaethetus via the Royal Yacht Serenity II had to be cancelled as work was running on, not as planned, and I escaped at 7:40pm.  The extra five hours are from the goodness of my heart and not the public purse.

So it was up at 4:15am for the 6am departure and to MaccyD's for immediate nutrition.  Quarter pounder with cheese at 4:30am was no substitute for the usual brekky, but with no chicken nor fish, it was that or nowt.

BirdGuides thoughtfully told me that the bird had gone awol last night; things not looking too good, but feck it, I was up and it was dry.

All aboard at 6:25am (I clearly crossed some meridian between Viet-Cram and Seahouses) and off east on a flat briny.

And no Tern.  Plenty of these tho':

And these:

And hundreds of these:

And by 9am, no freakin' Tern.  So back ashore, with an outstanding offer from the Cap'n that if the little blighter returned, a free second trip out at 1pm.

In to the local office, and four hours or a tad less of toil in service of the public, and a final check of BirdGuides before leaving and no joy.

Ah well, c'est la vie!

C'est la feckin' vie until I checked t'interweb just south of Morpeth and the quarry spotted at 12:54pm.
(Mr Howdon, was it someone from your boat that saw it?)