The recent winds have pushed a stream of seabirds past Severn Beach. Knowing that my presence there would dry them up immediately, I went instead for the long shot of seawatching from Battery Point, Portishead. Hey, it’s the environmental option too: I walked. That meant I didn’t take the scope but I knew it wouldn’t be needed anyway.
Some chap sheltering by the pier on the way over said he’d seen two gannets earlier so my hopes rose 1%. 1% of nothing is still nothing and the Severn Estuary was full of rough seas and not much else. I scanned and scanned and a curlew flew past. That was enough.
I left via the rocky bit of Woodhill Bay below the Point, where small birds struggled against the wind. One was an easy rock pipit and another was… looked like a wheatear. I couldn’t even keep the bins steady. It was a gale. Yes, it finally was a wheatear – new for that patch.
Then a couple of waders flew up from right beneath me. All I could say was that they were about pipit-sized with a white wing bar. That and the general feel of them (jizz?) pretty much clinched it for ringed plovers. Not just a patch tick and a Portishead tick but a car-free lifer. Yes, I’m still keeping that list going and it’s hit 144. 90 for this year as well, so not too shabby.
I’ll have to wait for my cruise to Lundy on the 18th to add seabirds to the Somerset list. Although as I have noted, anything offshore between here and Clevedon is actually in Bristol. Hmm, that reminds me to double check sightings on the mud off Portbury Wharf: that’s in Bristol too.