Sunday, 9 August 2015

Scilly Pelagic - Day 4 - 9th August 2015

Three Great Shearwater were the obvious highlights from today's pelagic as they all came insanely close to the boat. As one banked round the whole boat, I ran to the bow hoping for a shot and it came round again and passed less than 10ft away! If I'd have been quicker, I could've perfected the above shot (clipped the wing!) Even when you get crisp photos of insanely close birds, you can always do better sadly! A super experience and lovely to note the difference in underwings between the three birds.

With increased wind today, we mainly did drift chumming (with a bit of steaming and chumming later on which favoured the Great Shears), and this meant that Stormies were ever present and providing wonderful photographic opportunities. Whilst I got maybe 2 shots I was happy with on Friday night, I got over 30 today that were sharp enough to warrant a second look when processing.

The sun briefly came out and I utilised this by getting some really nicely lit stormie pictures. Fantastic birds and a pleasure to be in the presence of so many, yet again.
With great numbers come great variation. As I zoomed in on my photos I had to double take this stormie with pale grey carpal bar a la Wilson's. This is reasonably common in Stormies though and the shape of everything else along with behaviour is all wrong.

Three small skuas followed the boat as we steamed and chummed and 2 of the 3 seemed to be head scratchers. The jury is still out whether they were Long-tailed or Arctic and I'm none the wiser either way.
The behaviour seemed to favour Arctic, harassing the other gulls around, but the mininal white in the hand on upper and underwing was interesting, the dense barring on the underwing, contrastingly barred rump and vent. In certain angles, the wings looked narrow and the bill was pretty delicate. This trip had once again reminded me just how out of my comfort zone I am with immature skuas.

After the pelagic, I had a very short break and then went to the Garrison to play 6-a-side against the Scilly local team with Scott, Alex, Elliot and Kris (we had to borrow one of theirs) and lost a dizzying 20-7. As we're playing 11-a-side against them in October, I think we need an awful lot of work in terms of fitness, skill and playing as a team with any sort of formation or understanding! Bring it on I say!

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