Friday, August 29, 2014


Back for more after the school run this am, but very little doing in comparison to last night. Managed to glean half a dozen each of cory's shearwaters and great shearwaters, with 8 sooty shearwaters too. But nothing else really doing.

Headed back up again this evening, as I'd convinced myself that the wind hadn't swung round to the west and was glad I did as a fine balearic shearwater flew by nice and close. Very welcome for the year list (109).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

a good blow

Finally a whole day of south-westerlies! Very sunny this am so I convinced myself that work was a better plan than burnt-out retinas! By lunchtime I'd heard from PM that there were big shears going by so I had a nervous wait all afternoon, hoping he wasn't going to do another bulwer's on me!

Walking up at half past five for an evening session I met PM heading back to the car but the prospect of me doing a triple fea's on him was too much and he turned round to do another couple of hours.

Its always a good omen when almost the first bird through the scope is a cory's shearwater! They kept coming too, steadily with occasional runs of 5 or 6 birds going through together. Magic! Great shearwaters were going by a bit less often and generally further out, so were harder to pick out in the blustery conditions. Good numbers of both were going by further out but the light and sea conditions meant scanning closer in was the better option.

By the end of the 3 hour watch numbers had crept up to 366 cory's shearwaters and 112 great shearwaters, with 13 sooty shearwaters, an adult (ahem) pomarine long-tailed skua (new for year 108), bonxie, 20 storm petrels and an arctic tern - kwality seawatching!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

seawatching at last!

Seawatching season normally starts at the beginning of July. Typically, this is when we'd get the first strong south-westerly blow of the "autumn". Only not this year. There's been very little sign of any south-westerlies to date, and when there has been, I've been busy elsewhere!

So, having been avidly refreshing windfinder all week, and trying to juggle somewhere to stash the kids, I eagerly bounced out of bed at 5.30 this am to check that the wind was the promised South-westerly force 5. First impressions was that it was actually South-easterly force 2, but by now I was awake so I headed up to Galley anyway.

2 hours later, and apart from a showy fin whale, I'd only managed 2 arctic skuas, 2 sooty shearwaters and a common scoter. Pants!

Fast forward 5 hours and things were looking better - the wind had picked up, cloud was beginning to build up so I hoofed back up to Galley to give it another lash. After a couple of minutes, a nice close-in cory's shearwater ambled past - excellent! Soon after, a distant great shearwater tried to sneak west without being noticed. For the next hour or so, big shears slowly sailed by every few minutes - not as dramatic as the big push last year, but really good to get to grips with them again after such a slow start to the seawatching season. Finished up after 3 hours, with the following tally:

cory's shearwater - 38
great shearwater - 20
sooty shearwater - 14
storm petrel - 30
bonxie - 2
puffin - 11

Happy days!