Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Cornwall to Oare

I set off to Falmouth on Saturday morning at just before 5am, excited at the prospect of the day ahead. A delay of an hour and a half didn't dampen my spirits, I arrived with 30 minutes to spare and ready to get aboard my ak wildlife cruise.
It was a steady start as we headed 25 miles east before heading straight out to sea, the highlight of the first couple of hours were MED GULL (several), immature LITTLE GULL and SANDWICH TERN for the birds in the water were many COMPASS JELLYFISH and a single OCEAN SUNFISH. As we headed further out a couple of MANX SHEARWATERS appeared and lots of GANNETS. The Gannets were key, as we spotted a large flock diving on the horizon, Captain Keith headed towards them and from a distance we saw something large break the water and splash down, loads of Manx Shearwaters appeared our first STORM PETRELS showed as we got closer, next it was COMMON DOLPHINS, before the shout of WHALE! rang out a 19ft MINKE WHALE was lunge feeding around the boat we waited and watched and managed to see the whale at least 5 or 6 times at one time passing right under the boat. Really exciting stuff and whatever happened after that didn't matter.
As it was we soon had a couple of SOOTY SHEARWATER on the list plus GUILLEMOTS, RAZORBILL, ARCTIC SKUA and lots more STORM PETRELS. Everything calmed down eventually and the after checking a couple more feeding frenzies we headed back I did have a brief siting of a single BOTTLE NOSED DOLPHIN, unfortunately it didn't re-surface. An ATLANTIC GREY SEAL high up on a rock was the final addition to the list as the sun started to disappear behind The Lizard, a very enjoyable 7 hours.
Ocean Sunfish

Loads of Gannets

Manx Shearwater

Inquisitive Common Dolphin

Storm Petrel

Storm Petrel


Atlantic Grey Seal

The following morning it was a case of where to go, with the report of Roller on the Lizard, I decided to give it a go, setting off from the National trust car park, I was again drawn by the sea, plenty of MANX SHEARWATERS were pouring passed after nearly an hour I picked up a large Shearwater, CORY'S SHEARWATER came close then headed out to sea a real bonus, they were being seen at Porthgwarra but I didn't really expect to pick one up myself, I tore myself from the sea and watched many SWALLOWS over the fields and found 2 CHOUGH further along the cliffs. a small cove produced several CHIFFCHAFFS, WHITETHROAT, 2 WHEATEAR a couple STONECHAT and that was about it. I found that i had missed Ortolan and Icterine Warbler, although i did manage a few minutes with a local birder looking for them but to no avail. I headed back to Kent.
Restronguet Creek - No Pelicans

Cornish Chough

With the afternoon of the Bank holiday Monday unexpectedly free for me I headed to Oare Marshes with the prospect of lots of waders, I wasn't disappointed, highlights included 13 LITTLE STINTS, 19 CURLEW SANDPIPER, 3 SPOTTED REDSHANK, LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 4 WHIMBREL, GREENSHANK, BAR TAILED GODWIT plus all the regulars. The cast was added to by several YELLOW WAGTAILS, SAND MARTINS, SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS.
Bird of the day though was an OSPREY seen heading along the Swale and then turning south, other raptors included MARSH HARRIER, HOBBY, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and BUZZARD. A really enjoyable afternoon in good company meeting Rob of Robs Birding blog and twitter and a couple of birders from London, enjoying a day out in Kent.
Golden Plovers

Little Stint