Wednesday, 5 June 2013

More Baskers!! (4th June)

A spontaneous trip out to sea on the AK Wildlife boat trip with some friends in the hope of seeing Basking Sharks and more sea-birds.  Since the wind had diverted to a northerly direction, the breeze had created a rather substantial swell which the small cruise boat struggled a little in its battle against.  However, after rounding the first headland at Zone Point, we entered calmer water and shortly after came across our first Basking Shark of the trip!  I must admit we were all rather unimpressed as it was the smallest I have ever seen, only reaching about 5-6 feet.  It remained fairly close to the surface but seemed disinterested in feeding and rarely broke the surface with its dorsal fin.  After about 5 minutes of watching it, it gradually sank out of view.  Moving on we encountered the usual auks, including approximately 340 Guillemots on the nesting ledges at Gull Rock, interspersed with the odd Razorbill.  Unfortunately, following the PIB spillage, the breeding numbers of the colony have declined significantly, quite obvious when you hear of numbers double the size we saw that day!

young Basking Shark (the dark shape under the water) in Gerrans Bay


Shags at Shannick Point

adult Shag with 3 well developed chicks

main Guillemot ledge

Gull Rock

Rounding back into the entrance of the Carrick Roads on our return, CK picked out yet another Basking Shark, this time the real deal, a large c.25 foot beast which performed amazingly for at least half an hour as it circled the boat feeding.  It was still present by the time we had to leave and afforded excellent close up views.  Unfortunately, the video does not do the animal justice and the glare off the water has disguised the majority of the dark shape.  All the same, an absolutely awesome experience!!!

Basking Shark circling the boat at the entrance to the Carrick Roads!

An adult Peregrine at an undisclosed nest site was also occupied with 2 chicks!  The first time I have seen live Peregrine chicks, albeit being rather obscured views.

Peregrine chick, the small ball of white fluff just visible behind the vegetation in the center of the picture

Herring Gull following the boat

Basking Shark with the beautiful scenic backdrop of the Carrick Roads and the Roseland

back in the Carrick Roads

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