Seawatch Ainsdale : Too much chop


Slow outta the blocks this morning, although to be honest, there’s rarely much to be gained from a dawn patrol when you’re this late into November.
Wanted to give the scoters off Ainsdale a good grilling – they’ve been there since July, and while I can see ’em distantly from our office everyday, they’re too far off to work through properly.
Got down to the dunes by the ADC at 1100 on the height of the tide, but the W/NW breeze was putting too much chop on the water, and the swell made it hard to work through the scoters (and everything else for that matter).
There are however, worse things in life than a bit of chop on a chilly November seawatch, and 4 flyby Eiders (1 male, 3 females) were a fillip for the frozen.

Common Scoter 1-2,000
Red Breasted Mergs 7
Red Throated Diver 13
Great Crested Grebe 9
Eider 4
Razorbill 8
auk sp 25+

Sitting still you get cold pretty fast at this time of year, and it wasn’t long before I’d lost all feeling south of my armpits.
The scoter horde continues to intrigue though – this long ribbon of birds that stretches from Birkdale to Formby must have something out of the ordinary with it, there’s thousands of ’em – it’s just a matter of getting a good enough view and a large enough dose of luck I suppose.
By midday the sun had broken through and as all salty seadog seawatchers know, this throws an annoying “silvery” cast on the already pale underwings of Common Scoter, making Velvet double-takes way too frequent.
Time to call it quits – the scoters will be there another day.


At least the Stonechats were point blank as usual in the dune scrub…