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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:24 pm 
Lincs Bird Club Member
Lincs Bird Club Member

Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:31 pm
Posts: 304
Location: Dunston
A family holiday to the Isles of Scilly between 10th and 17th August allowed for a little bit of birding between the beach going, snorkelling, horse riding, cream teas and general touristy bits.

General sightings whilst out and about included Peregrine, Green Sandpiper, a few Greenshank, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (ad and juv), Rock Pipit and Raven. Scilly at this time of year however is justly famed for its seabirding and I manged to get my pass stamped for 2 pelagic trips. These combined with the Scillonian crossings there and back did not disappoint.

Scillonian Crossing Penzance to St. Mary's 10th August

A glorious day and fairly quiet but not completely uneventful.

Cory's Shearwater – 1 flew alongside the boat just east of the islands
Great Skua – 1
Manx Shearwater – A steady stream of birds passing mid-point for around 15mins plus at least 3 groups consisting of c.100 birds sat on the sea.
Fulmar, Kittiwake and several Gannets were also noted along with 2 pods of Common Dolphins (8-10 shortly out of Penzance and 4 off Land's End)

All day Pelagic 12th August

Believe it or not this wasn't the most epic of trips experienced by birders during the week, but it was epic enough for me to be well satisfied with what we saw.

Wilson's Petrel – 1
Storm Petrel – 30+
Cory's Shearwater – 150+
Great Shearwater – 90+
Sooty Shearwater – 50+
Manx Shearwater – 3000+
Great Skua – 13
Plus Fulmars, Gannets, Kittiwakes and a selection of Gulls. Superb views were obtained of all species but this is some of the most challenging conditions for photography I have experienced. It was not just the birds however as also logged were a Minke Whale, 6 Common Dolphins, 3 Ocean Sunfish, 3 Blue Shark (one of which was caught and tagged on the boat) and 12 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. Although chumming was successful there was clearly something happening in the water as large groups of birds (and tuna) were gathering around presumed bait balls.

Evening Pelagic 14th August

Setting out in dismal weather it gradually cleared to leave a lovely evening. Again all target species seen.

Wilson's Petrel – 1
Storm Petrel – 40
Cory's Shearwater – 16
Great Shearwater – 9
Sooty Shearwater – 10
Manx Shearwater – c.30
Great Skua – 4
Fulmar, Gannet and the usual gaggle of gulls also present. This trip also witnessed nature in the raw. A Great Skua had been in attendance with the gulls following the boat for a short while showing little interest when suddenly it took out a juvenile Herring Gull before drowning the bird and plucking it on the surface. Prior to this, one had also been giving a Great Shearwater a significant amount of grief. Other wildlife included 3 Blue Sharks all of which were caught, tagged and released and a Minke Whale close to St. Mary's on the way back.

Scillonian crossing St. Mary's to Penzance 17th August

Again the waters around Scilly and Lands' End did not disappoint

Cory's Shearwater – 1
Great Shearwater – 3
Sooty Shearwater – 5
Balearic Shearwater - 1
Manx Shearwater – c.5000
Storm Petrel – 10
Plus a few Fulmar, Gannet and Kittiwakes. Two pods of Common Dolphins were seen (4 and 3 individuals) plus a pod of 8-10 unidentified dolphins. To try and keep the interest alive I put my 6 year old daughter on Gannet spotting duties. Thanks to a close flyby she now also has Great Shearwater firmly on her list too.


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