Scilly pelagic birds

Through the summer and autumn boats leave St Mary's on evening trips to look for seabirds and to capture blue sharks (the sharks are tagged and returned to the wild). The trips offer some of the best opportunities to see seabirds in Britain. The main bird of interest in late July and early August is the Wilson's petrel. I'd see this species in the US previously, but never in Britain. Having been on two earlier holidays in Scilly at this time of year I still had not seen one. In fact, Wilson's petrels had been seen on all the pelagics that were held when I've been on holiday except the ones that I went on! This time things started in the typical way. A trip on 30 July produced 6 great shearwaters and 3 Cory's shearwaters, but no Wilson's petrels, despite one being seen on the previous night. The trip on the next day, which I didn't go on, had 8 Wilson's petrels! At last, on my 6th trip over 3 years (3 August), I was treated to a WILSON'S PETREL flying close to the boat for long periods of time. Pelagic trips invariably turn up something interesting, be it seabirds, dolphins, sunfish, sharks or even migrant insects. Some of the highlights from my two trips this summer are shown below. Click on the images of the birds to see more pictures.





Great shearwater

great shearwater

Storm petrel

storm petrel

Wilson's petrel

Wilson's petrel

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