A Grey Seal pup* hauling out onto a sandbank at Ainsdale first thing this morning was a sign things might be rough further out, while a fine dark phase Arctic Skua harassing terns close in mid-morning was all the extra encouragement I needed to try a lunchtime seawatch today.
The Lennox rig melting into a squall offshore that never quite hit the dunes, suggested a seabird or two might be pushed in close too.
At least 100 Sandwich Terns and smaller numbers of Common Terns were roosting up at the south end of the Green Beach until a dog-walker scattered them.
Offshore there were many terns (70+), mainly Sandwich, with about 10 Common Terns and 1 Little, which kept things busy as they moved south, and at least 400 Common Scoters were out at mid-range riding the swell.
Numbers of scoters are really starting to build now.
Gannets, mostly immatures and sub-adults, were fishing offshore, but I was surprised by the lack of Manxies – they usually sweep in past Ainsdale in south westerlies this brisk.
No more skuas either – but the memory of the Arctic mid-morning was enough to keep me looking.
(1 dark phase Arctic Skua)
Auk sp 1
Sandwich Tern 150-200
Common Tern 17
Little Tern 1
Great Crested Grebe 1
Common Scoter 400 approx
Grey Plover 3 full s.p. birds
*Anyone worried about the seal pup will be relieved to know it was picked up by the RSPCA early afternoon, hauled out on the sands at the north end of the beach.