Monday, February 22, 2010

In the midst of a raging gale...

Last night's sunset seemed to warn of what was to come...

Today's torrential rain even created waterfalls down cliffs

...and the gale-force winds made it almost impossible to keep upright, let alone hold the camera steady!

even the Cormorants were battling hard to keep over the waves

and a few Audouin's Gulls continued to pass, close to the shore for shelter. In a sheltered bay I found some Sandwich Terns, actively feeding in the rain (pity there was no sun!)...

even they aren't left alone by the piratical gulls!

...but when some gulls purposefully took off, alarm bells were raised and I couldn't believe what I saw...

in the heart of the storm, and in pouring rain, Black Kites had crossed the Strait from Africa!

Around 20 birds struggled into the wind and carried on north

Above and below: Black Kite into a strong wind. So much for the standard idea that these raptors congregate at short sea crossings to soar on thermals and glide over the sea. These guys flapped incessantly above the wave crests until they found updraughts off the cliffs. The lower photo shows the effort involved in the exhausting flight. Such is the migratory drive that makes them cross in these conditions!

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