Monday, November 13, 2006

Long-billed Murrelet - Dawlish, Devon - 12th November 2006.

The 550 mile round trip for this once-in-a-lifetime UK mega rarity would have been worth the walk, never mind the drive down the M6/M5 from Blackburn.

Setting off at 02:00hrs, the team consisting of Myself, Mark Breaks, john Wright & his girlfriend Helen arrived at Dawlish at 07:30hrs. Shortly after our arrival, news came on the pager that the bird had been located about a mile south of the seafront, off the Langstone Rock, followed by a forced march, paratrooper style, by c200 birders eager to get their first view of this ultra-mega rarity, occurring for only the 2nd time in Europe!!

The Murrelet showed extremely well close-in for prolonged periods throughout the morning. It was constantly feeding and dived very frequently, surfacing up to 70yrds away from the spot it submerged.

Mid-morning it swam purposefully offshore at least a mile, presumably for a siesta, after a hard couple of hours feeding, before returning close-in just before mid-day, when it showed in superb light to an appreciative audience of several hundred.
It was thought that 1,250 birders enjoyed such views during the course of the day. Should it stay longer, this will surely go on to become the most twitched UK rarity of all time.

A fraction of the assembled birders enjoying the Murrelet at Langstone Rock, Dawlish, early morning of Sunday November 12th 2006. Click on images for larger picture.
In all we spent five hours on-site, noting a supporting cast of 2ad Med Gull, several Red-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Razorbill, 5 G.C. Grebe, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Shag, 6 Eider, distant Gannets, Rock Pipit and c20 Turnstone.