Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cornish pelagic 2011.

Saturday 6th August saw myself & 2 companions boarding a small boat & heading out from St Ives at 5:00 in the morning. Fortunately the sea was relatively calm & the weather dry. The first sighting was not a bird, but a basking shark, just after we left the harbour. This was the first of two sightings during the trip, but was unfortunately about 100m of the rear of the boat. The gloomy light of dawn soon lifted to a overcast morning & after about an hour of steaming & chumming (around 8 miles out), the first Fulmars appeared. These were our constant companion's during the trip & afforded views down to a meter, both on the sea & in flight. Gannets were also fairly frequent, some diving onto the chum just off the boat. A little later on, many hundreds (possibly thousands) of Manx Shearwaters crossed our path, some circling & feeding nearby. A small group of Balearic Shearwaters were also spotted as they crossed to our rear. The bird of the day for me (and a lifer) though was the single Sooty Shearwater that flew alongside the boat & gave great binocular views, but too far for my 200mm lens & 1.7x converter combo to get anything other than a distant record shot.
After drifting for about 1 1/4 miles, we steamed back to our original position. Just after setting off, a large dark triangular fin was spotted again too our rear. This time the skipper decided to see if we could get a closer look & circled the area where it was last seen. After 10 minutes or so & no more sightings, we headed off on our original course. More Manxies joined us & a single Storm petrel flitted alongside for a brief moment.
By now the sun was out & it was time to return to St Ives for a late breakfast. A pair of Grey seals popped there heads out of the water to see if there was any titbit's & Cormorants & a few Shags were also noted.
Balearic Shearwater



Manx Shearwater

Sooty Shearwater

If you fancy a trip out next year, have a look at this website but be warned, book early as places are filled quickly.

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