Sunday, 26 September 2010


The Safari was out on the high seas on Saturday looking for cetaceans and seabirds for MARINElife
The morning was stunningly clear but cold. The rising tide roughened the water far more than this pic, looking straight over the bow to the hills of the Lake District, shows.
Looking back towards Blackpool from the outer limits of the River Wyre.
Over all we saw just about 4000 birds, most of which where associated with bait balls of fish or the massive raft of auks, mostly Guillemots. Unfortunately the ship moves too quickly to be able to scope through them for any Puffins. Plenty of Razorbills too but easily outnumbered by the Guillemots.
The biggest bait ball was tooo far from the ship to be counted but had many hundreds of birds, Kittiwakes and Gannets mostly, in attendance and was pulling in more from all angles including a Black Tern (181) which passed in front of the boat. The first on the starboard side had three - yes three - Great Skuas, as we passed the flock there could well have been another two but we couldn't be positive they weren't ones we'd already counted.
This bait ball also had the first of our Bottle Nosed Dolphins, three of them very difficult to see. We think they had herded the fish to the surface and were picking them off from underneath and barely breaking the surface. In the end we had another seven! Another two 'sightings' of 'something' could have also have been BNDs. We weren't expecting that many. No Harbour Porpoises as the chop was too high for us to see them unless they were about to get run over by us.
A good trip but standing and concentrating for a full eight hours is hard work!
This morning a bit of wood cutting in the garden at Base Camp had us spotting a couple of skeins of Pink Footed Geese going over, the largest one about 65 birds. A Jackdaw, a really scarce bird at Base Camp flew south, then the best sighting of the day, two Jays came from the east and turned south at the water tower.
Where to next? 'Just' Patchy stuff this the rain looking at the forecast.
In the meantime let us know what's been swimming just beneath the surface in your outback.


Monika said...

Interesting to read about your sea excursion. I'm glad you finally got to see some cetaceans! I'm kind of surprised bottlenose dolphins are that far north. They're rarely seen north of California on our coast.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika

We are only about 1/2 way up the UK and BND are found right up to the northern extremes of the scottish coast around the Hebridean Islands and also off the east coast in the North Sea (Moray Firth). Could be something to do with the currents, we get the warming Gulf Stream coming across the Atlantic from the Caribbean. Does your coast get cold currents from the Arctic?
The crew had seen an Orca just before arriving in Northern Ireland a few weeks ago, no such luck for us though but certainly can't complain about our dolphin numbers particularly as they were so hard to see - wonder how many were attending the huge but too distant bait ball?



cliff said...

I was quite fancying one of those dolphin watch boat trips until you said 8 hours. Dunno if, with my flimsy sea legs, I could stomach that long.

The Jays sighting is excellent, the only Blackpool jays I've ever seen have been in winter at the feeding station at the Mere, never even seen one at Stanley Park which I would've thought would be perfect for them, although maybe with them being so skittish the parks too busy for them?