Sooty Shearwaters

Friday 25th September comments: Sooty Shearwaters are oceanic wanderers who are masters of the sea and wind. These majestic birds can be seen off the shores of the UK if certain weather conditions prevail especially in August and September.

Sooty Shearwaters are medium-to-large shearwaters with a wingspan of 40-51 cm. They fly with a shearing flight dipping from side to side on stiff wings (a bit like a Fulmar) and their dark plumage with chocolate colouration and silvery strip along their underwing make them distinctive. These birds breed on islands in the Southern Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans mainly around New Zealand and Falklands amongst other islands and will be breeding from October. However these birds are impressive long-distance migrants and have been known to travel 14,000km whilst recent tagging experiments have shown that birds breeding in New Zealand may travel 74,000 km in a year, reaching Japan, Alaska, and California, averaging more than 500 km per day. Sightings in the UK involve birds moving north through the north Sea up the east coast as they retrace their path back to the Atlantic over northern Scotland.

Today was one of those special days as we recorded 503 north, the third highest ever count for the island with the top three counts at:

669 north on 22nd September 2002

640 north on 12th October 1993

503 north on 25th September 2020

The significant times and counts from today are shown below

Time               Running Total

06:45               Start at first light

07:45               31 north

08:45               40 north

09:45               77 north

10:05               100 north

12:25               239 north

13:13               300 north

14:20               353 north

16:20               405 north

19:00               500 north

19:04               503 north

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