Saturday, 15 January 2011

An inundation of auks

Last year we saw very few auks passing by the south-east corner, but yesterday there were about 100 on the sea off Kingsdown, and this morning they were fizzing past at a rate of about 10 per minute.

Some of the auks were preening energetically, and some perhaps desperately as if oiled - this razorbill floated into the shore, attended by gulls waiting for a meal.

The wind had strengthened from the south-west, and there were good numbers of divers and great crested grebes as well as the auks, flying south.

The waters off Kingsdown seemed to be good for food, and newly-arriving birds would land near others, assuming they had picked a good spot. The auks are hilarious when they land..... slow, slow, stall and collapse in a heap on the water but it's more important for them to be able to land on their cliff-side nests, I suppose.*

A few kittiwakes joined the usual resident gulls just offshore, while gannets (notably all adults) fished a little further out. A small grey-and-white grebe flew past - a Slav or a Red-neck?

I was pleased to take an old family friend, Andy from Chew, down to the beach in the afternoon and it's humbling to talk to someone who has recorded a patch for 40 years, and who has such good technical knowledge. I have much to learn, Andy, so keep those anecdotes coming!

* back to auks.... extract from the Pegwell Bay Report 2010:

I’m putting forth a motion here to change the name of Razorbill to Razorbob? What do you reckon eh? It would be much better saying I saw 21 Razorbob’s, now wouldn’t it as were all bored with Razorbill after years of saying it now aren’t we? They have a bill like a razor and they do ‘bob’ on the sea when they land and it’s choppy? I also want to change the word ‘choppy’ in this instance for the words ‘chip choppy’ because then you could say if a Razorbill landed on a choppy sea “look there’s a Razorbob sitting there on the chip choppy sea” etc and so forth. This would surely enliven any dull and boring sea watch? Odds ones were seen in January whilst looking for Dovers and Guillebobs across the chip choppy sea.

A classic.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Sounds like something out of Dads army ! something old ''jonesy'' would say :-)