Basking Shark moving very slowly north 08.30-10.30.
I decided I would try one last time seawatching off the coast of Blackpool to see if I could add to the list of great birds Katia has brought me. I wasn't disappointed!
Arriving at 07.45, I understand I had just missed an adult Pomarine Skua which would have been nice!
The first decent bird I saw flew south at 08.46 in the form of an adult Sabine's Gull...superb! This is something I have always wanted to find for myself and be able to scan the open sea and discover that unmistakeable wing pattern!
)8.52 and I got my first views of a Leach's Storm-petrel making its way slowly south which was in view for approx. 3 minutes and I loved every moment of it! Storm-petrels really are wonderful things!
At 09.05, I spotted a very similar wing pattern in my scope to the first bird and there in front of me, was a delightful juvenile Sabine's Gull heading south too! What a start!
The watching became pretty difficult thereafter until 09.45 when a 2nd Leach's appeared in my scope just in front of North Pier. I decided to try and get a photo of this one by running to the edge of the incoming tide and hoping it would be visable for a record shot...sadly, it was very low and appeared only a couple of times above the surf. In the process, I almost stranded myself on the very fast moving incoming tide which was surrounding me in all directions!
Apart from the avian highlights, I picked up a large animal 100 meters in front of North Pier which I instantly thought was a whale. It took about 2 hours to make its way north out of view, so I had a very long time in which to observe this beast and attempt to photograph/ID it. Throughout the whole time I was watching it, I was saying to myself that it wasn't a Basking Shark as it just didn't seem to scream Basking which is what I would have expected. I really did think it was a small whale (maybe a Pilot or something). After much deliberation, and cross referencing Google images and my montage above, I have come to the conclusion that I saw my first ever Basking Shark (and in Lancashire too!)
A great mornings seawatch and and lovely finally to 3 days of being blown about the Blackpool coastline! Highlights being Sooty Shearwater, 3 Sabine's Gull (inc. Heysham's bird), 2 Grey Phalarope, 2 Leach's Storm-petrel and a Basking Shark...Not at all bad!