Thursday, 8 October 2015

Scilly Gulls and friends


Yesterday (Wednesday) saw me on a boat in the Atlantic to the north of the Scilly Isles in search of ocean-going birds and other creatures. Following the strong westerly winds the night before, the swell was big and took a long time to calm down to an acceptable level for a landlubber like me!

Nevertheless I used my camera where I could, albeit that most of the shots showed the subject disappearing in to a deep trough or behind a wave! We wound our way past St Martins and the Eastern Isles after leaving Hugh Town on St Mary's and saw a summer plumage Great Northern Diver and Mediterranean Gull on the way. On hitting the ocean proper, it wasn't long before some pods of Common Dolphins found us and arced towards us in order to play alongside the boat. The attendant Gannets came over for a look but lost interest when they saw that the dolphins were playing as opposed to feeding.

Further out and apart from big gulls it was quiet for birds. Occasional Bonxies careered past and Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater, Fulmar and Guillemot were all espied in small numbers. A small skua flew through but the boat occupants were divided in their identification and a single Sooty Shearwater showed late-on. We were fortunate to again connect with a particularly huge Basking Shark, some Harbour Porpoises and another Minke Whale. Some line fishing off the boat provided close-up views of fish such as Pollack and Baleen Wrasse.

Back on St Mary's and I caught up with Black Redstart and better views of the summer plumage Red-throated Diver which has been present for about three days. In the meantime Eleanor had birded St Mary's and seen Lapland Bunting, Yellow-browed Warbler, another Black Redstart, the usual Firecrests and Pectoral Sandpiper.


Neil M

Great Black-backed Gulls

Herring Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull


Mediterranean Gull (right)

Sooty Shearwater

Common Dolphin

Rock Pipit

Red-throated Diver

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