Tuesday 14 August 2018

Scilly Pelagic ..........3rd to 5th August 2018

                   Isle of Scilly Pelagic :  3rd August 2018

                                                               Scillion Crossing

European Storm Petrel.

The crossing over to the Isle of Scilly on the Scillion  can sometimes award you with some good views of seabirds and on the 3rd August i was lucky enough to see 7 European Storm Petrels , 500+ Manx Shearwaters, 100+ Shag & 1 Great Skua , Fulmar & Gannet were also seen in good numbers plus we saw 20+ Common Dolphin which is always a magical sight.

SAPPHIRE PELAGIC  3rd August 2018

5pm  to  9.45pm

After booking into the Bell Rock Hotel it was not long before we headed down to the quay for our 1st pelagic on the Sapphire with expert skipper Joe Pender & expert guides Bob Flood & Jason Moss.

The journey out of St.Mary's harbour was pretty non eventful but it was not long before we had a good selection of Gulls following the boat , these included Herring Gull , Lesser black backed Gull & Great black backed Gull , however we soon got superb views of two Juv Yellow legged Gulls.

Juvenile Yellow Legged Gull.

We had good numbers of European Storm Petrel (40+) and Manx Shearwater (20+), there was also a constant stream of both Gannet & Fulmar (often following the boat).

Then the shout went up from Jason , ' get on this Petrel' , we did and although distant you could clearly see it was a Wilson's Storm Petrel which was soon joined by a European Storm Petrel and size & flight comparisons could be made.

I have seen 4 Wilson's Storm Petrels before but many years ago and the views of this bird were of similar distance , there was a buzz on the boat as this was a new bird for many including RR, however a bit later in the pelagic we once again saw a 2nd Wilson's Storm Petrel but this time it was flying towards the boat and just kept on coming !!!!

Wilson's Storm Petrel. Photos by Joe Pender

At one point it was so close i could see it's eyes , my photos were hopeless but skipper Joe Pender managed to get some fantastic photos (see above) many thanks for the use of your photo's.

This was my 6th Wilson's Storm Petrel (2 on this trip) but by far the best views i have ever had of this rare seabird, wow what an experience.

We also saw 100+ Common Dolphin and a Blue Shark which was a new species for me.

SAPPHIRE PELAGIC  4th August 2018

8.30am  to  3pm


Today was an all day Pelagic however with dead calm seas i thought we would be very lucky to see anything , however we did our best and had absolutely fantastic views of Gannet & Fulmar.

Close views of Gannet.

We did see 3+ European Storm Petrels and 100+ Manx Shearwaters , a single Sooty Shearwater was great to see and then the shout went up ' Great Shearwater ' we all got onto the bird but sadly it didn't come in to check us out despite the chumming that had been going on all morning.

We saw a 2nd Great Shearwater a bit later on in the day but that just kept going , however we kept at it and enjoyed watching 50+ Common Dolphin , 10+ Porpoise, 50+ Grey Seals and a real bonus a Minkie Whale.

Close views of Fulmar

SAPPHIRE PELAGIC  5th August 2018

11am  to  5pm


This was our last day and we had high hopes for abit more action compared to yesterday , the sea was still calm but there was more of a breeze than yesterday.

We were not long out of St.Mary's harbour when we had great views of a Kittiwake.


We then saw a large raft of Manx Shearwaters and had some superb views of these cracking Shearwaters.

Manx Shearwater.

Once again we had the constant company of  Gulls , Gannets & Fulmars following the boat which afforded some great photo opportunity's.

Common & Sandwich Terns were seen and a trickle of Kittiwakes appeared here & there , European Storm Petrel (20+) were seen but never came really close enough to get a photo.

A real surprise was a Porbeagle  Shark which was new for me , another Blue Shark was seen , plenty of Sunfish (5+) and lot's of Compass Jellyfish.

Then we struck really lucky when a Great Shearwater came in to investigate all the action in the wake of the boat and we had some fantastic stunning views of this wonderful bird.

Great Shearwater.

I have seen many Great Shearwaters in the past and had good views of them , however these views are  the best i have ever had , you could see every detail and listening to Bob Flood describe how to age the bird (this bird is a juvenile)  and where it was born was a real  education. 

We had distant views of 2 Sooty Shearwaters and another Great Skua showed really well, our last bird of the trip was a critically endangered Balearic Shearwater which was to quick for me to get a photo. 

Great Skua.

Here is a selection of photo's of some of the other wildlife i saw on these superb Sapphire Pelagic's.

2 Common Dolphin

Blue Shark

Common Dolphin


Grey Seal

Blue Shark

Compass Jellyfish

Grey Seal

Blue Shark

Common Dolphin




Wednesday 1 August 2018

Red Necked Phalarope & Glossy Ibis at Oare Marshes

                                               28th July 2018  :  Oare Marshes

Red necked Phalarope with Black tailed Godwit.

Oare Marshes has been in fine form all through July with some very special birds being seen , and that run continued with a Glossy Ibis being seen a couple of nights ago , i got a txt from MW early Saturday morning that the Glossy Ibis was on the East flood so i headed straight there to have only missed it by a few minutes , not a great start to the day.

I did a circuit of the East flood with MW and we saw the adult Bonaparte's Gull which has begun moulting it's head feathers but still looked good to me.

Various waders were seen including 5 Curlew Sandpipers , 3 Little ringed Plovers & 2 Common Sandpipers , Turtle Dove was heard near the paddocks and the Little Owl was in it's favoured tree.

I headed off home at about 6.45am and walked in the door made a coffee and settled down to do my bird notes when i get a phone call from RR informing me that there is now a Red necked Phalarope on the East flood , so once again i headed back to Oare & meet up with RR ,MW & JR only to be told it had flown off with some Common Snipe and although the Snipe had returned the Red necked Phalarope had not , i said 1 or 2 expletives as you can imagine.

Adult Red necked Phalarope.

Thankfully MW saved the day and refound the Red necked Phalarope at the back of the East flood , although distant it was great to see this superb wader , i decided i would return in the evening in the hope the Glossy Ibis would come into roost.

Red necked Phalarope.

RNP , Dunlin, Ruff & Black t Godwit.

Really pleased i came back to Oare marshes in the evening , the Red necked Phalarope was showing much closer to the road and there was 5 each of Curlew Sandpiper & Little Stint.

3 Little Stints & 2 Curlew Sandpipers.

Adult Curlew Sandpiper.

3 Little Stints & 1 Curlew Sandpiper.

Watching these waders at close quarters was a real treat , then another birder further down from where i was standing called out the Glossy Ibis is at the back of the flood.

I soon got onto this superb bird and although distant it looked good through the scope.

Glossy Ibis.

Glossy Ibis & Ruff

Glossy Ibis.

Oare marshes has had probably one of it's best July's on record, certainly in my experience of visiting this reserve (sure others will tell me different), hopefully August will be as good !!

Many thanks to MW & RR for the phone calls & txt and well done to Steve Clinch who found the Red necked Phalarope this morning.