Shear Double Delight

The bird observatory on the island (a great place to seawatch) with the team & Manx Shearwater flying

Saturday 17th September comments: We got the strong wind, the heavy seas and as predicted, no boats could sail. However we did have some silver-lining when it came to today; the seawatching. Over the last few weeks our attention has been focussed on the small migrant birds moving through the island but today the focus was out at sea as good numbers of seabirds were moving.

In recent weeks we have had a good influx of large Shearwaters into the North Sea and these included Cory’s Shearwaters; a species which breeds on rocky islands in the eastern Atlantic mainly Maderia, the Azores and the Canary islands. There have also been Great Shearwaters which are another large shearwater species which breed in the southern Atlantic around Tristan da Cunha and Gough island. Both these species are rare on the east coast of the UK, but this morning the Isle of May cashed in.

At 09:06 a Cory’s Shearwater was observed flying north and less than 25 minutes later a Great Shearwater cut into view, close to the island before heading north. Both these species are rare for the island as these represent the fifth records for the island for both species with the last Great Shearwater seen in 2007!  As well as these super birds, we also had plenty of Sooty and Manx Shearwaters alongside moving wildfowl and Red-throated Divers. It’s been another good spell of birding on the island and plenty of happy birders but as always we are sure there are plenty more highlights to follow.

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