Posts Tagged ‘Pelagic


A stomach for it

Some people love them, some hate them. Without doubt a pelagic trip is the best way to see seabirds. There’s the rub … you need the stomach for it.

Earlier this month out of Tobormory in Mull we were lucky enough to have relatively calm seas and saw Storm Petrels, Manx Shearwaters and Great Skuas – one of which had been colour ringed in either Shetland or Handa Island to the north. At the time I took the series of shots of this Bonxie robbing a Kittiwake of a Sand Eel I never saw the ring. I almost discarded the one photo showing the ring as it was slightly out of focus but all the other shots in the series did not show the bird to be wearing a ring at all.

Storm Petrel

Manx Shearwater

Great Skua


Effortless Travellers

One of the most enigmatic of bird families has to be the Shearwaters. Their gliding seemingly effortless flight on straight wings makes them instantly recognisable.  Britain’s only breeding Shearwater is the Manx. Last weekend we saw several around the boat. Not as prolific as they sometimes are the few we did see showed quite well … one in particular; enabling a shot or two.

A single Sooty Shearwater also put in a brief appearance. This is a bird that breeds no nearer to us than Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Having left there in April this individual would have travelled up the east coast of South America, the USA, Canada and then travelled across the northern Atlantic and pushed by South Westerly’s over the top of Scotland into the North Sea. When we saw the bird it was travelling north as it tried to retrace its flight path to re enter the North Atlantic and make its way south following the west coast of Ireland, Portugal and then the African Continent before making its way back to Tristan da Cunha completing an epic circum-Atlantic migration. As our bird left the water in front of the boat it took us by surprise. It was gone and away almost before we had chance to raise cameras. Swinging along on long slender wings the Sooty Shearwater is well named being dark all over apart from the centre of the underwing which sparkled white in the late morning sunshine.

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Jun 2023


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