Thursday, 1 August 2013

Great, Cory's and Wilson's- when lifers don't count! :(

Joined my survey vessel yesterday in a nice little port in the SW of Ireland. We steamed down the river Shannon, then overnight on the open sea. This morning I awoke over the Porcupine sea bight WSW of Mizen head in about 1600 metres of water. I spent the morning working and getting organised and then spent 3 hours on watch this afternoon. It was very quiet aside from a few gannets and fulmars and a solitary great skua and a fly-by turnstone. The sea was choppy but not unduly so, however the watch was made difficult by intermittent heavy rain and rolling damp fog banks that left water droplets on everything. The light was dull and everything had a soggy feel to it and as there was not much about I didn't bother taking the camera out onto the deck- then things changed for the good with 4 great shearwaters, a Cory's shearwater and a Wilson's petrel flying past the bow of the vessel in quick succession! Although I have seen thousands of both of these shearwater species and scores of Wilson's I have not seen any of these 3 species in British waters and so all 3 are needed for my 'British list'! Of course having checked my position on the nautical charts I confirmed my worst fears in that I am working in the Irish sector- by a significant margin! The moral of the tale is always, always have the camera ready and also too consider starting a British and Irish life list! The camera (in a plastic bag) will be on deck for the rest of the voyage!

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