Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Pelagic Magic

Got back last night from an excellent long weekend in the south-west, including three pelagic trips on the Sapphire from St Marys. The major goal was Wilson’s Petrel, and although they’ve been in short supply this year, I was fortunate enough to see one on the Friday evening excursion. We were very lucky – it was one of the first birds to come in behind the boat, no more than 45 minutes after leaving the quay! Photo opps weren’t great in rather murky conditions, but there’s no doubt about this…

wilsons1

Note the long legs protruding behind the tail; the lack of white on the underwing; and the wing profile, showing a straight trailing edge and rather pointed wing tip. One or two other shots suggest a slightly hooked wingtip, consistent with primary moult, while grey carpal bars were noted on the upperwing. The bird showed three times in about half an hour, and given good views like these, picking out Wilson’s from Stormies doesn’t feel too taxing a task. I won’t be claiming any off the Runnelstone from Gwennap Head, though!

The other significant highlight was a Great Shearwater found feeding behind a French trawler on the Sunday afternoon, in gloriously sunny (but seabird unfriendly) weather. I suspect you may be seeing more photos of this fantastic creature in a future post, but here’s one to set the scene…

great_shear1

I’ll post up a full account in stages over the next few days, so keep checking back!

1 comment:

JONATHAN LETHBRIDGE said...

"I won’t be claiming any off the Runnelstone from Gwennap Head, though!"

I will!!