Doing the nightshift without a torch was not as difficult in practice as I had anticipated. Due to its lunar ways the moon was especially bright tonight, and I could even see my shadow in the moonlight, which is not something I can ever recall seeing before and was quite a surreal experience.
I spent the day lazing around due to the poor form of the weather. I headed up to Kew in the morning to do some washing and along the way spotted whitethroat and whimbrel as the highlights. Next stop was Canal Scrape where there were the usual Mallards and Coots but nothing different really. I ended up at the Seawatching hide rather early, at 4.55, to begin the evenings watch.
It started slowly, as it often does, but an early highlight was a swift that was hunting round the hide giving some exceptional views. I had not seen a swift like this at Spurn so I had wondered if it could be a pallid but I got good enough views to say that it was a standard swift showing off.
The movement increased through the evening as was expected, as did the number of birders. Soon we had a small gathering and were keeping tabs on all the movement. There was good wader passage; Sanderling 11, Redshank 14, Oystercatcher 52, Knot 21, Whimbrel 14 and a single Black-Tailed Godwit going south, with large numbers of Knot going north off the Humber in huge expansive flocks.
Of course the Tern is the main thing that we were counting (though not me) and we had really good numbers though it was slow to start. By about seven it had started to rain, but it was only a short shower and the sun remained out giving us a fantastic double complete rainbow, the first of which was very rich in colour. The light was also fantastic for viewing the terns, as they flew south, making them all seem pristine white against the dark background. We also had a juvenile Little Gull, which also showed well against the dark background.
Sadly I had to leave in order to make some dinner before my shift. Its safe to say that will not be a mistake I make again as they had 2 black and a rosette tern after I left, and it was the highest count of the year with 7000 commons. Next time I will have an early tea and stay for the whole passage.
It was already dark when I arrived at my shift, so nothing could be made out on the ponds sadly. The moon was incredibly bright again though, casting shadows like the source of illumination was right next to me, like a TV in dark room. I also saw a few shooting stars, and braved the wind in order to watch them.
The Daily Oystercatcher
Once more my life was deprived of oystercatchers, as my shift finished before light and began after it. I did spot a few oystercatchers while checking the pond for fox, and while they were probably from my family it is impossible to tell. Either way they were not happy I was there and as such I did not stay to try and recognise them.
Seawatching: Swallow, Sand Martin, Fulmar, Gannet, Swift, Common Gull, Sanderling, Woodpigeon, Starling, Linnet, Whimbrel, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Knot, Ringed Plover, Mediterranean Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Carrion Crow, Arctic Skua, Black-Tailed Godwit, Little Gull, Dunlin, Arctic Tern, Grey Plover, Turnstone,