Clearly good numbers of Gannets and Manxies feeding around what I assume was a large shoal of fish not too far out at Ainsdale this morning with LBBs and other gulls, so I pulled an early lunch and ‘scoped ’em for an hour.
It was remarkably good fun – at least 80 Gannets of varying ages plunge diving repeatedly, while about 300 Manx Shearwaters skittered about beneath them, crashing into the water after the fish, or chilling in post-scoffing rafts.
Wonderful to see so many seabirds off Ainsdale again.
While ‘scoping the Manxies, what appeared to be a demented bat tazzed through – much much smaller as it hared around the feeding party before disappearing…looked like a Storm Petrel to me, but it was long range and unfortunately didn’t return in the hour I spent with the feeding frenzy.
A single Little Tern came through closer in though, which made a change from the regular Sandwich and Common Terns, and Common Scoter numbers, while still low, are clearly increasing as birds start to arrive back in Liverpool Bay – failed/non-breeders presumably?
Four RB Mergs were a surprise too.
Manx Shearwater 300 approx
Storm Petrel 1 possible
Great Crested Grebe 2
Little Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 8
Common Scoter 43
RB Mergs 4
Impossible to put an accurate count on the Manxies and Gannets as they were constantly wheeling about, but I enjoyed it so much, I’ve organised a short notice emergency (!) lunchtime seawatch from Ainsdale tomorrow over the high tide – meet at 1230 at the Ainsdale Discovery Centre if you fancy it, although such impulsive behaviour is probably a guarantee the bay will empty overnight.
While we’re on the subject of links, this National Geographic piece is interesting too….