Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Boat was Diesel, There Were Still a lot of Petrel

During my month in Ireland, I did go birding, yes.  But only twice.  About ten hours of birding for a month, not great I know.  To be fair, there seemed to be little around - Not that that's a viable excuse.  England on the other hand was seemingly brimming with migrants and rarities.  I mean there was even a group of three Wrynecks. Three of them. I'd be over the moon with just one!  Ireland of course, had none of this, well they steered clear of western Ireland at least.
 As such, the two birding forays of the trip were not twitches (If you can believe that), but nor were they regular birding days (if there is such a thing).  No you see, I finally entered the realm of the Pelagic.  A realm I'd been dreaming of for a long time.  I like boats. Oh, and of course, I like sea-birds too. 
My stomach is of the constitution that it, umm, doesn't handle car-journey's that well.  So you can, I'm sure, imagine my worry of spending five hours out at sea.  I won't paint that picture any clearer, for your comfort and mine.  I found however, fresh sea air, along with Storm Petrels flying just a few feet away make for a good remedy to keep sea-sickness at bay. Who'd have guessed...

Although I think following their nonsensical flight through the view-finder may have counteracted that a tad.  I added hundreds of shutter-counts to my camera, and this is practically all I got.  Fast little things!
 Aside from the Storm Petrel, the first Pelagic trip produced two Sooty Shearwater, a handful of Manx and this Bonxie.  It's amazing how much more impressive they are when they're not blobs on the horizon.

The second Pelagic involved one of those lovely 5am starts.  Eating muesli at 5am isn't that easy.  It also sadly involved a lot less Storm Petrel, only about twenty throughout five hours.  The Manx's however were out in much larger numbers.  A Sooty (I think), more than half-a-dozen Bonxie, oh and two of these beauties...

Long-tailed Skuas, yeah they're rather something!  One even had the audacity to chase a Bonxie, it must have been mad.  They showed amazingly, one flying right over the boat!
 We were also quite fortunate with Cetaceans, having up to five Minke Whale, and rather a lot of Common Dolphin - three of which swam right by the boat, if only for a few seconds, it was still a little mesmerising. 
Ignoring the daunting, ever-present feeling that the rocking of the boat would get the better of my afore described constitution, it was great fun. I like boats, I like sea-birds, so of course, I like Pelagics.

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