Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Sunday 15 August 2021

Porthgwarra Seawatch – 15/08/2021

I was pleased to make my annual seawatching pilgrimage down to west Cornwall last night for, arriving a little after 6am this morning after an easy drive down in the dark. 

Conveniently, the weather conditions appeared to favour an all-day seawatch before catching the Scillonian tomorrow bound for the Isles of Scilly. The visit to the isles is to mainly relax, find some good birds, some decent insects, and of course, the pelagics at the weekend. 

The decision to seawatch from Porthgwarra today was duly made by the local's decisions, rather than mine; I thought with a weather system off Ireland, Pendeen may have been favourable, though it turned out that neither site really produced the goods today. 

Despite some intermittent sleeping whilst others scanned the seas, my overall totals between 6.15am to 3pm are as follows:

Balearic Shearwater - 38
Sooty Shearwater - 22
European Storm Petrel - 1
Great Skua - 1
Arctic Skua - 1
Pomarine Skua - 1

I missed a single Great Shearwater which was mega distant, and with such a vast sea, I just couldn't pick it out sadly. From midday onwards, the passage was very slow, and as nice as Balearics are, even they were starting to get a bit tedious.

By far the highlight of the morning though was a superb duo of Blue-finned Tuna, which breached five times no more than 100 metres offshore! I was completely stunned by their size, as on initial sight I thought I had a jumping Common Dolphin. A few pods of Bottlenose Dolphins (some family groups) also kept things going. 

Although far from a classic, it was still good to be seawatching again.

Balearic Shearwaters

One Balearic & two Manx Shearwaters