juv. Citrine Wagtail at Lower Moors
Finally the pelagic came, something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Our boat trip out to see produced 2 Harbour Porpoises whilst Joe Pender and I were the only ones lucky enough to get a brief view of a Basking Shark before a Grey Seal popped up in its place. Once out to sea, and the chum over board, we saw a further 2 Grey Seals and a Portuguese Man Of War (something I really wasn't expecting to see in British waters)! My first year tick came in the form of 2 flypast GREAT SKUAS followed by a total of 10+ STORM PETRELS. Pelagics really do offer a surprise when we were suddenly rewarded with a Minke Whale surfacing c.hundred metres out before disappearing for a few minutes. We had nearly forgotten about it when suddenly we had the shock of our lives as the Minke surface, snorted and dived again only a few metres from the boat! With the shock subsiding we continued with our sea-watch and despite the extremely calm conditions managed to pick up 5 Manx Shearwaters and a single SOOTY SHEARWATER. Then the sharks started biting. The first one took almost 15 minutes to real it half way in but the inexperience from the visiting mainland softy meant it soon unhooked itself. Disappointment amongst the catchers and birders on board but they were given a second chance. This time Joe and others managed to land a small Blue Shark before tagging it and releasing it back into the water. They also managed to catch a single Dogfish, 1 Needlefish and a Red Gurned (a very striking fish). Whilst waiting for the next thing to bite or another bird to come along, 2 Ocean Sunfish provided some amusement flapping around at the surface. I managed to pick a distant skua species and got it onto some of the other birders on board but unfortunately it didn't decide to fly closer and we were left with a possible Arctic, Long-tailed or Pom Skua.
Minke Whale surfacing a little further away from the boat
tame Grey Seal
Portuguese Man Of War
Blue Sahrk, ready for release