Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A bit o' seawatching

Ah.....the Old Head of Kinsale. Harry Hussey once described it as "a fickle mistress". 9 times out of 10 you'll go there and see nothing, just as you're about to give up and swear that you'll never again waste your time on that desolate and windswept headland, you'll find something good. Filled with hope you'll return 9 more times and of course find feck all. The Old Head...........she'll draw you in with a find and then use you for her own amusement!!!!

Anyway, having been cooped up all day I decided to do a quick evening seawatch. Weather conditions were not too bad. Wind off the sea, a bit of drizzle and a bank of fog about 100-200 meters out. Looked good! And sea-watches from earlier in the day off both the Old Head and Cape Clear had Sooties, Poms, Arctics and Bonxies. So once again filled with hope and expectation I flashed my pass at the golf club entrance and drove up to the light house.

Road to Old Head lighthouse - 23rd July 2012
On the way to the lighthouse it was looking a bit grim, the fog was pretty thick and I wondered if there would be any visibility at all.
I parked up beside the light-house compound and put my wet gear on. Having come this far I was determined to give it a go at least.
Lighthouse compound - Old Head of Kinsale

But as I reached the seawatch point below the cliff things were looking better, the fog bank was a good 200 meters out and there was a steady stream of Manxies passing close in. I got into position and began looking, surely if the Manx Shearwaters were coming in that close something would come in with them, a nice fat Sooty or a fiercesome looking Arctic Skua......anything would do me!
As it is so often on the Old Head, my levels of expectation were high. Everything was in place, it was evening time, the weather conditions were good, I was in the right location......on the tip of a headland in South-west Ireland facing out to sea...........keep looking, be patient and the birds would turn up.
30 minutes later the stream of Manxies continued............just Manxies...........nothing else!!! And as so often on the Old Head, expectation and hope were soon being replaced with disappointment and gloom! Still it was better than being in an office, there is something very pleasant in the solitude of sitting on a headland looking out at the grey sea.......even if all you're seeing is Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Gannets. After about 45 minutes the fog rolled right in against the cliff face and the visibility came down to about 10 meters. Light was fading also so I called it a day.

So once again the Old Head plays games with me..........the worst of it is, I will probably be back in a few days time......filled with the hope of finding a Fea's Petrel.......ha, you fool Clarke!

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