As the morning wore on the winds ebbed and the birds started heading south a lot more slowly and in better light (after 700 going north I counted 550 going south). Suddenly I was picking out Puffins! I had 4 birds heading south and 1 north all in the course of 50 minutes. I was now checking every auk and my hope was to find a Brunnich’s but to be honest I do not have the (super natural?) powers to take one for certain in flight at 1km range which is where most of the auks were (the middle of the fjord). However I did have a very good candidate with a dark head and seemingly more compact jizz than the Common Guillemots it was with but that wasn’t enough. How about trying to find one sat on the sea? A number of the auks were splashing down so I started scanning and 5 minutes later and what do you know? Alongide a flock of 5 winter plumage Common Guillemots was a bird that was much blacker and with nearly a completely dark head. This needed grilling as I needed to see more and be certain it wasn’t a Common Guillemot in summer plumage. I wasn’t able to see the white line over the bill at such range but I could see that the bill was shorter than the Common G’s, the head was a squarer shape and the white on the chest went up in a V into the black. Enough, for me at least, to be happy that this was a Brunnick's Guillemot (polaromvi) and a good bird (less than annual) in these parts.
My pictures from today are absolutely pants and don’t even fall into the record shot category.
|a large flock of auks heading north|
|this flock heading south looks to be all Guillemots (lomvi)|
|about the only pictures (despite many shots being taken) which just about shows a recognisable Puffin. The smaller more compact jizz plus the dark underwing are good characters as well as the grey head.|
And to finish off the post an absolutely crap and completely non conclusive video of the Brunnich's:
This is the best snap shot I've managed to take from the video. You possibly get an idea of what the bird looked like...