Tuesday 18 August 2009

CBWPS Field Meeting - Sunday 23rd August

A dismal start to the day with mist, drizzle and rain deterring all but the hardiest ! The mist soon disappeared though by the early part of the morning. Some 25 birders were seawatching today on the Porthgwarra headland in a breezy southwesterly. We were given reasonable views of most of the birds on offer including three Great Shearwaters, one of which showed well in front of us eventually veering away at the Runnelstone Bouy. Four Sooty Shearwaters flew past with two showing well. Two Choughs unexpectedly flew over calling loudly.

Total counts for the morning from 7am to 12.30 are as follows:

3 Great Shearwater
4 Sooty Shearwater
16 Balearic Shearwater
150+ Manx
1 Black-throated Diver
9 Common Scoter
4 Great Skua
200+ Gannnet

2 Chough

Many thanks to Simon Taylor for the photo.


  1. Hi Steve, great photos as usual. Talking of sea-watching, can you advise me if a sea-watch this coming Saturday morning (22nd) would be worth travelling several hundred miles for? I am no good at reading weather charts but it seems that the prevailing direction is from the SW or W, although it dies down by thursday, there is a small low in biscay moving north in an anticlockwise direction on friday. Could this push stuff like Cory's up to places like Pendeen or Porthgwarra. Somebody on BF suggested you were the man in the know re weather. Can't get there before saturday unfortunately.

  2. Hi Jonathan, thanks for the comment. It is a really difficult prediction to make and local birders have spent years trying to finetune it. A good source for regular local seabird movements is on Russell Wynn's http://www.seawatch-sw.org/ web site. He has been watching Porthgwarra since July and just see how many "blank" days they get in so-called good conditions. It takes a lot of dedication! This saturday, my prediction for what its worth, would be that in a south easterly wind, neither Porthgwarra or anywhere on the Land's End peninsula would be worth travelling for. On Sunday, the wind moves to a more favourable south-south westerly direction so Porthgwwarra seems (tonight anyway) the likely location to be. Would I travel from London? On this forecast probably not. This said, there are still three of the best weeks yet to come in terms of seabird migration, so my best bet would be to hang on for a howling gale forecast, eg probably at the end next week, and come down on a better forecast. I hope this helps. Please call me on 01872 263444 (w) if you need to speak to me. Regards. Steve