10th August

Why is it that the mere mention of the word gale brings a headlong rush of normally rational birders to the Bill in expectation of it being something akin to a poor man's Pendeen? Perhaps our memory is defective, but has the Bill actually got any heritage of good seawatches in a raging gale? Today's dreg ends of Hurricane Bertha brought with it a good overnight soaking and some unseasonably high seas and strong winds, but bird-wise it was as dead a loss as so many of its predecessors. Prolonged coverage at the Bill came up with nothing more than 35 Manx Shearwaters, 24 Common Scoter, 14 Balearic Shearwaters and singles of Arctic Skua and Great Skua; additionally, a steady southbound passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls was underway all day, with two sample hour-long counts during the apparent peak of the movement in the afternoon and evening that came up with a total of just shy of 150 indicating that the day-total would have been well in excess of 500. Grounded migrants were hard to get to grips with at the Bill but did include 2 Sanderling and a Whimbrel. Ferrybridge is a site that rarely disappoints in stormy weather, and today it returned totals of 136 Common Terns, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Sanderling and a Redshank.

Whimbrel and Little Egret - Ferrybridge and Portland  Harbour, 10th August 2014 © Pete Saunders and Matt Phipps