Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Scilly - day 6 - Pelagic and Sora

With no new megas on offer, Jim was on pelagic duty again today in the hope of some good seabirds? MV Sapphire was duly boarded and set sail for the open seas around St Mary's…..

Who's driving this boat?



We had barely left harbour when close views of a Red-necked Grebe were on offer......



plus plenty of Shag! From then on, it was mainly Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.....



trailing the boat in the hope of something better than bread on offer? Gannets were the next encounter.
A good spread of ages, from juvenile......



To second winter.....




Plus adults.



A lone Puffin was seen on the sea, Guillemot and Razorbill were also seen in flight later. The star of the show during the first couple of hours was a Sooty Shearwater, coming to within 100m of the boat,



at least four Balearic Shearwater plus a couple of Manxies were seen too.

As we trailed diced fish, the feeding intensity of the Gulls increased (including a 1w Yellow legged Gull), attracting the attention of several Great Skua, there must have been at least 10 seen over the trip. Here's a few closer encounters........







Locking onto the Gulls!


And not giving up until a free meal is forthcoming!!




We then had a real bonus bird – Grey Phalarope on the water plus a Great Northern Diver overhead, even a lone Kittiwake to keep the Scilly ticks coming….

Plenty of Dolphin action again too!



There’s one down side to being out on a pelagic, you are trapped there for six hours plus! With news of a Sora on Tresco coming out early afternoon and no boats possible after the pelagic returned, it was for a short while a bit of a downer. Luckily Joe Pender had a solution, a show of hands for a slightly early finish and then half the boat were dropped off…… on Tresco!

It was a bit of a hike from Carn Near quay to the Great Pool and when we got there, a few scopes were trained across the pool ….on the reed bed by the Swarowski hide – and there showing at the edge – one Sora!! Lifer number 5 for the trip….

I even got some record shots from the hide which was a real scrum but our pick up was an hour after the last official boat so we had the place to ourselves – with the Sora feeding on the open mud some 50m away….. Even got some record shots!





The bird log at the Scillonian, a pint or two and a Roast beef dinner later – perfect end to an exhilarating day….



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