Like a millpond

The final Northern Experience evening pelagic of the year saw the best weather of the last three Fridays.  Demand for places was so high that we chartered a second boat, and collected nearly a full boat-load from Mill Dam, South Shields.  The plan was to take the two boats out in tandem; the ramifications of one boat seeing something good, and the other boat being out of sight, just weren’t worth contemplating.

Much like last week, Manx Shearwaters were much in evidence; presenting photo and video opportunities throughout most of the four hours that we were at sea.  We must have seen well over 100, not surprising when 250 were recorded passing Newbiggin yesterday evening.  Waders were in evidence; a Turnstone and a Sanderling flew side-by-side, heading south, and a fast-moving line of ‘curlews’ low over the sea were thought by one person on the SarahJFK to be Whimbrel.  Video footage taken at the time suggests that the minority view was the correct one.  A distant ‘V’ of birds above the horizon proved to be Curlew.  Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets, gulls, gulls and more gulls all stayed close to the boats throughout the evening.  A lone Arctic Skua was pestering a group of terns, but there was no sign of the Bonxies reported by fishing boats earlier in the day.  A Moon Jellyfish passed along the length of the boat before dropping out of sight beneath the hull and the Fulmars were squabbling amongst themselves, almost close enough to touch.

As the sun began to set over the Cheviots, an orange moonrise was away to the east and coats were donned as the temperature began to fall.  As the atmospheric ‘at-sea’ experience gave way to the reality of sailing back along the Tyne, our total species count was announced as 22.  And then myself, Ipin, Janet, Joanne and Sarah headed into Tynemouth and the Gate of India; a sociable end to a typically sociable evening pelagic.

~ by pterodroma on August 8, 2009.

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