The forecast of potentially good seawatching conditions over the weekend resulted in the predictable barrage of text messages from Seppy nagging me to get my arse to the coast.
I've never been a massive fan of sitting on a headland in the wind and rain watching tiny be-winged dots hurtle by, so I tend to ignore him. However, this being my first year with a coastal patch, with reports of big shears and a brace of Fea's past Galley on Sunday morning and The Proclaimers stretching their lead, I figured it was worth a lash for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.
|Traipsing out to the most southwesterly point on patch|
So off I trundled to a handy wee spot at the south-west corner of Myross Island to stare at the sea for a bit. There were big shears moving through in numbers. I bagged Cory's right off the bat, added Great a few minutes in, picked up a Stormy a bit later, then Sooty. Four full fat patch ticks and not even half-an-hour in. Not a bad start.
Then I spotted something different-looking fly into the periphery of my view amidst a perpetual onslaught of Manxies. It was about the same size as the Manxies around it, but flew more like a big shear. It had greyer upper-parts, a clearly paler tail, and as it banked it flashed a pristine white belly and... f**k me... almost uniformly dark underwings.
It took a second for the penny to drop. I was looking at my first ever Fea's-type petrel.
Amayzing! As it disappeared into the drizzle, I was literally shaking with the adrenalin. A thorough soaking from a sudden squall couldn't even dampen the excitement.
|Sheltering from a sudden downpour post-Fea's|
About half an hour later, just as I was calming myself by contemplating the meditative qualities of Cory's flight, I picked up another Fea's... this one closer, presumably pushed in by the aforementioned squall. Epic!
I was still buzzing as I got in the car to drive home. In a productive few hours I'd moved to within 1% of the top spot, racking up five (count 'em) full fat patch ticks, one of them a lifer. The fact Seppy was off attending some inane event at an inland county up the country was the icing on the cake.
Loath as I am to admit it, perhaps Seppy has a point. Maybe there is something to this seawatching malarkey after all.