My complaint yesterday about not seeing any auks was answered in the worst way today, with the reappearance of oiled guillemots along the coast. This one floated under Deal pier, just keeping its head above water.
It duly beached on the shingle, so I rang the local rescue centre and within minutes Mark was on the scene with a long-handled net. Another - dead - guillemot floated offshore, giving impetus to our efforts to save this one.
Mark deftly netted the bird with considerably more grace than I achieved last year, when captures were made in a flurry of wings, beak and legs.
It was taken for first aid to Dover, and if it is not too far gone will then be passed on to the RSPCA's Mallydams Wood near Hastings for recuperation and release. Mark tells me that it's been a poor breeding year, so they are under attack from all sides - the north-east wind presumably bringing oil and birds closer to the coast than usual.
The local number to ring for the resucue of oiled birds is 07801-248850 .