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Alcina

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07:32 pm: Twice this month, I've driven to Land's End because the weather forecast was just perfect for seeing shearwaters. Unfortunately, it's a long drive from Yorkshire, and both times the weather has changed its mind while I was en route.

Once more the weather was perfect (visibility over 10km, SW breezes, dry*). I considered. By the end of this try I would have spent 1000 pounds on trying for these birds (mostly on petrol and accommodation). In the end I decided to give it one more try... I drove to Exeter after work, stayed in a motel 10pm till 4am and then got on with the driving...

The weather was as forecast. This morning was one of the one or two mornings each year when the normally scarce Cory's shearwaters are passing in dozens from a headland near Land's End in the 2-3 hours after dawn. So were the globally critically endangered balearic shearwaters, which was what I was expecting. I also saw sooty shearwaters and storm petrels for my year list.

But at just after 8am something else happened. Something that has only ever happened 5 times before in the UK (almost always from the 'end' of Kernow (Cornwall)... Something white and lightly built with long tail streamers and tern-like flight action and with a dark wedge along the leading edge of the wing (like a sabine's), but with much narrower wings...

Over to you, llr10 and Ruth. What did I see?

Comments

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From:tiggymalvern
Date:August 28th, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC)
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Glad you finally got your birds. I spent 4 hours tramping 6 miles along a beach on Monday morning, looking for a lesser sand plover which apparently departed on Sunday evening. On the way home, I stopped at Hoquiam, searching the Caspian terns for the elegant terns that were there both the day before and the day after...

A tropicbird?

From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 29th, 2015 07:10 am (UTC)
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Indeed it was a tropicbird. Of the red-billed variety, the fifth one ever seen passing from a UK headland. I am still waiting for the alarm clock to go off and wake me up in the Exeter Motel where I stayed overnght :)

Bad luck on the dips. For the last two weeks most of my birding has been like that. But now I feel better.:-) Hope the same happens to you.
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