Saturday, 3 October 2009

1999: Fulmar and Sandwich Terns at Lyme Regis


OK, I've a whole series of these things from ten years ago, this time August 25. Like I said: I've been at this game for a while:

"I had driven through nearly an hour of torrential rain and lightning from the M5 down to Lyme Regis. Chard had threatened to turn into Venice with waterfalls cascading off roofs to join the rivers forming in the streets. I was beat almost before the trip had begun.

Lyme itself was not much better. I spent another hour trying to find shelter to eat my sandwiches. Only the Herring Gulls looked relatively unperturbed.

However, in the midst of all this gloom and murk another gull flew across the front and veered out to sea. I don't know why I noticed it particularly -- some sixth sense maybe? As it turned away its flight action became more apparent -- those stiff wings, flickering more than beating. I got the binoculars on to the bird and sure enough the colouring and shape was all Fulmar. Suddenly munching a rye bread and Marmite sandwich in a sodden Dorset town did not seem like such a bad idea after all.
Sandwich Tern

Later the weather turned completely and it became too hot for jeans and t-shirt. It also became possible to check out the other birds. A pair of terns called out at sea. I suspected Sandwich Tern from the shape, and the call did not seem like that of a Common; but I am no expert and these birds were too far out to tell for sure. Five minutes passed and the pair obliged by settling on the fast disappearing rocks 100 meters away. This time I could definitely make out the yellow tip to the bill and the slight crest.

A smart pair of Grey Wagtails, possibly my favourite bird, on the stream running through the town was a welcome late addition to the day's list. Then I had to head back to Winchester."

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