Some avian encounters are typified by beautiful plumage or melodious song, but others- particularly concerning seabirds- are often imprinted in my brain by the sheer exuberence of their flight action as they move over the restless ocean. I was enjoying watching the Cory's and Wilson's a couple of days ago when a dark, long-winged, long-tailed petrel passed over the swell into my line of sight. It was a brief image- just a flashing blade really- a dark, dashing petrel scything it's way over the ocean, occasionally stalling and picking at the surface and once I saw it briefly (and distantly) sat on the ocean- I knew it was something special and after a slightly closer view I realised that I was onto a Bulwer's petrel! Again, my distant photographs are not prize winners but it was a fantastic encounter non the less.
I'm really pleased with my copy of the 'multimedia identification guide to North Atlantic seabirds- Storm-petrels & Bulwer's Petrel by Bob Flood & Ashley Fisher- this has really helped me in identifying some tricky species over the last year and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in seabirds. (I have already pre-ordered the next volume concerning pterodromas- can't wait!)