Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Balearics of Bull Bay

As the winds have been NW-N for the last few days I thought I would have a sea watch off the tip of Bull Bay headland, an easily accessible sea watching site with parking nearby, just NW of Amlwch. There were lots of  rafts of Razorbills and Guillimots just offshore with their still noisy offspring. Feeding amongst them were a dozen or so Manxies, a few Fulmars, Shags, dozens of Kittiwakes, Porpoise, Gannets, Sandwich Terns and at least 2 but probably 3 Balearic Shearwaters. These Mediterranean Shearwaters were feeding relatively close, occasionally flying from one group of feeding birds to another, showing off their dusky plumage, pot bellies and different flight to their close relatives the Manx Shearwater with which they used to be conspecific.
I always love to see these birds as they are probably one of if not the rarest bird on global terms that passes through our region. The last census of this species estimated the breeding population on the Balearic Islands, the only place in the World that they breed, at c. 3,200 pairs. However surveys off the Iberian  shelf  estimate there to be between 13-20,000 birds of which 9-13,000 are mature birds (Birdlife). So it's always a treat to see them and I even managed to photograph them (badly!) for the first time today! Other birds included one Arctic Skua and 10 Common Scoters.

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