Friday, September 15, 2017

πŸ“– Diary Update #54

πŸ’¨ πŸ‚ ⛅18C Thursday 14th September 2017 ~ Accompanying Dee for a couple of days while she's working on one of her companies drilling rigs in Cornwall, I took the opportunity for a spot of sea watching, my favourite form of birding.

View from Pendeen lighthouse..
Pendeen Lighthouse in West Cornwall, somewhere I haven't been in over a decade, is the ideal destination and affords uninterrupted vistas and superb light. The outer wall of the lighthouse compound affords some shelter from the prevailing westerly winds, which are essential for good passage and especially after a recent storm, in this case, Storm Aileen!

Constant Gannet passage throughout my stay...
I joined around thirty or so other birders for a few hours this morning, thankfully managing to avoid any showers throughout my stay. On arrival, the first thing that struck me was the constant flow of Gannets and to a lesser degree, although still in good numbers, Manx Shearwaters. The first hour was most productive with a group of four Sabine Gulls, and a further two mixed in with a small flock of Sandwich Terns. Among the many Manx, a single Balearic Shearwater was noted and although a second was called a little later I missed this.

This record shot of two Great Skuas (Bonxie) at 600mm gives an idea of distance from the shore!
In total, my personal tally included Arctic Skua, five Grey Phalarope and six Great Skua, plus one of the highlights for me, a Leach's Storm Petrol, although several more were seen before my arrival.

Peregrine directly over the watchpoint!
Also noted among the many passing species were various numbers of Shag, CormorantGuillemot, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Razorbill, plus a Peregrine directly over the watchpoint! A surprise was at least four Ocean Sunfish, apparently, the worlds largest bony fish that can grow up to 1.8m, and from my observations oddly appear to sunbath on their sides, with the dorsal fin breaking water!

One of the local Chough population!
Another surprise was twelve of the local Chough population, which performed a fly-by, two returning a short while later for a quick photo!

Rock Pipit
Other species of note around the lighthouse peninsula: Wheatear, Stonechat and Rock Pipit.

Some of my record shots for ID purposes.......

Manx Shearwater