19 August 2010

Sooty Shearwater past Port Eynon

Seawatching can be hit and miss sometimes, but today was definitely a hit! During a 5 1/2 hour session today I saw 1 Sooty Shearwater, 6+ Balearic Shearwater, 3000+ Manx Shearwater and 2 Great Skua. Also past the point today 13 Common Tern, 3 Sandwich Tern, 21 Common Scoter, 250+ Gannet, 400+ Kittiwake, 11 Fulmar, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Peregrine and 1 Kestrel.

During 5:40am and 7:10 1835 Manxies past the point. In fact many more Manx passed further out that were not counted. 4 Balearic Shearwater also passed during this time. During the next hour or so the passage fell away with 240 Manx, 2 Balearic and a Great Skua passing going west.

The prize bird, the Sooty Shearwater, came into view at 8:15. Flying almost effortlessly, but much quicker than the Manx. Apart from the flight, which differs noticeably to the Manx Shearwater, and the dark body the long, thin and pointed wing are striking especially as it shows off its elegant shape as it "towers" between shears. Unfortunately such a quick bird doesn't stick around for long and heavy rain came soon after it was lost to view.

After the rain cleared a bottleneck of Manx Shearwater streamed west and during this point some birds were seen to filter back east and form feeding parties offshore. These Parties numbered between 100 and 400 birds made up of mainly of Manx with Gannet and Kittiwake mixed in. Another Great Skua was attracted by all this activity and brought chaos to the group before flying off. There were also 3+ Common Dolphins noticed during this time also.

I have had a few truly awful sessions at Port Eynon in the past, I doubt I will have many better than this one in the future?


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,sounds like it was well worth the early start,looks like the next few days could be productive,cheers Bernie

Mark Hipkin said...

Hi Bernie, yeah the winds look good right through the weekend. The rain not so good though. Could have done with a few other bodies today to tell the truth. At times it was impossible to cover the all the birds passing. Probably give it another go on Saturday. The good thing is with all the Dolphin sightings the feeding out there must be pretty good, so with a bit of luck the bird numbers will stay high. Cheers