Friday, 1 October 2010

Seawatching in Northern France 24-26th September

Hi all,

There were again strong NW winds in the North Sea. It's the best seawatching condition for us! It was thus easy to know what to do this weekend : The Clipon (Dunkerque) of course! I was there on Saturday from sunrise to sunshine. The strong wind arrived on Friday late afternoon and the local seawatchers had already great sightings :  6 sooty, 14 manx and 2 balearic shearwaters, 3 leach's storm-petrel, 2 pomarines, 1 long-tailed and 51 arctic skua in a few hours.



On Saturday, the numbers were not very high but the quality was there with lots of good birds very close. That's the advantadge of a big jetty, the disadvantadge is that we are also close to the waves and this time, we had a really huge one, far bigger than the other just after the passage of a sabine's gull...we were soaked through the skin had to run after somes bags that were carrying by the several tens cm of waters, juste before they fell into the sea! There was lots of water on the jetty and we had to run after somes bags and other stuff before they fell into the sea! My camera was out of my bag, I tried to protect it and miraculously it still works well!!

A video of us watching the sabine's gull along the jetty juste before that huge wave :
video

Here are the totals (1st number = Clipon, 2nd = Cape Gris-Nez) : 

Red-throated Diver            20          36    (good numbers for september!!)
Great crested Grebe           8            5
Red-necked Grebe             3            1
Black-necked Grebe          1
Fulmar                               32           5
Sooty Shearwater            74          17
Manx Shearwater              10          10
Balearic Shearwater                          4
Leach's Storm-Petrel      21           3       (we expected bigger number of this species)
British Storm-Petrel         1                     (very well seen, my best sighting of the species here!)
Gannet                             1457      3590
Brent Goose                     187        184
Shelduck                             5           12
Wigeon                              27          44
Gadwall                                            2
Teal                                   43           5
Pintail                                 3           13
Shoveler                             5            2
Eider                                 43          24
Common Scoter               353        702
Red-breasted Merganser                  4
Peregrine Falcon                1             1
Oystercatcher                   21           29
Ringed Plover                                   6
Grey Plover                      62            2
Knot                                  5
Sanderling                         50            3
Purple Sandpiper               1
Dunlin                               61           57
Bar-tailed Godwit            162
Curlew                             12            2
Redshank                          1
Common Sandpiper                          1
Turnstone                                         2
Red-necked Phalarope   1
Grey Phalarope               2             1
Pomarine Skua                19            19
Arctic Skua                     102          169
Long-tailed Skua            9              4
Bonxie                            162          309  
Skua sp.                           6              2
Mediterranean Gull           1
Little Gull                        47            42
Sabine's Gull                  7              6
Kittiwake                       108           224
Sandwich Tern               275           428
Common Tern                695           466
Arctic Tern                     18              13
Little Tern                       1               2
Black Tern                     36              8
Guillemot / Razorbill       17             17

Manx shearwater - Clipon - François Doyen

Gannet - Clipon - François Doyen

intermediate phase Northern Fulmar - Clipon - François Doyen

Sabine's Gull just before the huge wave - Clipon - François Doyen

There was still good sightings on Sunday morning but also lots of rain :

Fulmar                           64        2
Sooty shearwater         7         8
Manx shearwater                       3
Balearic shearwater                   1
Leach's storm-petre     3         1
British storm-petrel      1        1
Gannet                                   1700
Common scoter                       806
Grey phalarope            2
Arctic Skua                   37       56
Long-tailed skua          3         2
Bonxie                          71      140
Sabine's gull                 2         7

More very good pics will probably appear one day here : http://www.leclipon.com/ and
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Seawatch-Clipon-Gris-Nez/124337474283129?ref=ts

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