NEWT Pelagic 05/09/09

After a few days of rain Saturday dawned bright and sunny and, with westerly winds, we wouldn’t struggle to get the SarahJFK well offshore.  Reasonable sea passage over the previous days led to quiet confidence.  Lines of communication were in evidence to two seawatching sites with good birds already that morning; Whitburn (Sabine’s Gull) and Newbiggin (Cory’s Shearwater).  Our first Mackerel stop produced just one fish – hardly likely to attract hordes of hungry birds to the boat – and we headed north.  With strong winds this was a real pelagic experience.  Eventually we found birds…and Mackerel.  Manx Shearwaters were passing by during nearly all of the 8 hours we were out, and a few Sooty Shearwaters were seen as well,

Sooty Shearwater 05/09/09 (c)Ross Ahmed

Sooty Shearwater 05/09/09 (c)Ross Ahmed

single Arctic and Great Skuas gave excellent fly-by views

Arctic Skua 05/09/09 (c)Ross Ahmed

Arctic Skua 05/09/09 (c)Ross Ahmed

and we headed further offshore to check out a feeding flock of Kittiwakes.  As Allan slowed the boat and we began scanning the birds – whenever we happened to be on the crest of a wave – Tim Dean announced calmly “adult Sabine’s at the right hand end of the flock”.  There it was, our prize for persistence and the panaceae to the physical hardship of a pelagic on increasingly choppy water.  Tim and Ross Ahmed both managed to take a few record shots of the bird.  Many thanks to both of them for kindly supplying their images.

(c) Ross Ahmed

Sabine's Gull 05/09/09 (c) Ross Ahmed

As we headed back towards the Tyne a flock of Roseate Terns were alongside the boat calling and we returned satisfied (especially the two birders onboard who are chasing a big year list this year)

~ by pterodroma on September 7, 2009.

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