Hi to all,
this morning around 08:30 i went down to scan the north beach. there was a strong northern wind which made the Red Sea look very rough.
as i arrived i saw in the distance a lone Scopoli's Shearwater and not long after a Sooty Shearwater was also observed. around 09:00 a group of 3 "Common Tern" came in from the sea, flying very slow and low. when i placed my bins i could immediately identify one of these "Common" as a 1st summer Arctic Tern with its slender, thinner appearance, white trailing edge on the upper secondaries and thin black trailing edge of the primaries as well as a shortish black bill. having the two species flying together made it very easy to check all the markings and compare. the birds were flying low and against the wind for 2-3 minutes and than head off north along the canal. there are chances that it is still present in one of the salt ponds.
i than kept on scanning and found 3 more Sooty Shearwaters sitting on the water some 400-500 meters away from the beach. together with them was again this strange Shearwater with its white face (presumably that this is the same individual i saw two weeks ago). i am still not convinced what is this bird?! as it was very windy the birds kept on moving up and down and all i could see was the very pale chest, pale face with a contrasting head and cap (though not dark by all means). the body was brownish grey and not uniform and the bill seemed to be pale but i could not say if Yellow or Grey. at one point the bird did open its wings and flew 1-2 meter hanging on the wind, but i could not see the underwing good enough except for seeing it was pale underwing.
i kept on looking on this group of birds for another 15-20 minutes (trying in vein the get the best image through the scope) when in the background 1 Scopoli's and 1 Sooty are still flying deep inside and loose groups of Terns also very deep inside the gulf. just before i left 2 adult Baltic Gulls landed next to this Shearwater and they were clearly larger.
i hope that tomorrow i will have some more time and together with Re'a we will try to relocate this enigmatic Shearwater...