Thursday 20 August 2009

A Stormy day at Pendeen

An early start at Pendeen today, based on a 22mph westerly wind with stronger gusts forecasted, prompted Royston, Linton and myself to settle down for a long haul seawatch. John Foster later joined us. From the outset, Storm Petrels steadily moved through in a westerly direction, sometimes in loose groups of up to seven birds. Most were easily identifiable as they moved just past the three rocks in front of us. By 1.00pm, well over 200 were counted, itself a good Cornish record so the day will be remembered mostly for this species.

However, just after 1pm, we found an obviously larger petrel with a different flight pattern. I had been checking every stormy meticulously for its' white under wing bar and eliminating any other possibilities. This individual though showed no underwing bar but did show paler upperwing greater coverts and quite a strong, more obvious white rump. The direct flight interspersed with glides reminded me immediately of Wilson's Petrel. Both Royston and Linton connected but sadly John Foster didn't.

The day didn't end at 1.30 though as John Foster and Brett Richards upstaged us all with a Madeiran Petrel just after 6pm. It just shows that you should never leave a good seawatch.

The morning 's totals between 7am and 1.30 pm were as follows:

3 Great Shearwater
6 Sooty Shearwater
4 Balearic Shearwater
100 + approx Manx Shearwater
204 Storm Petrel
1 Wilson's Petrel
1 Arctic Skua ad pale phase.
3 Bonxie
1 Grey Phalarope
14 Little Tern
9 Sandwich Tern
3 Commic Tern
1 Arctic Tern
9 Whimbrel


  1. see you sunday steve - i'm winding up quite nicely for this - A couple of lifers for me in your list for today

  2. Madeiran - at what distance?