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16 Jun 2009

Move over Debbie Shearwater

A legend is born........................................

Move over Debbie Shearwater - theres a new pelagic expert on the block. Fresh back from our exploits in South Africa the Wirral Sea Watching Associations president has changed his name by deed poll to Al Albatross. The first inaugral tour of the newly formed company went in search of an African Royal Tern in N Wales last night with A Albatross being ably assisted by Mark 'Besturder' Turner (Afrikaans for senior manager but has obvious childish other meanings) and yours truly. With news that it had flown from its original site we took advice from local birder Marc Hughes and headed to Black Rock Sands. Unfortunately, due to the distances and time involved, a true pelagic on board 'Miss Molly' was out of the question so the 'Black Rocket' duly pulled up on the beach where after a few minutes searching we were stunned to find the tern roosting up in front of us. Al Albatross pelagic tours - 100% success guaranteed!!

The news was put out and birders gradually arrived. We kept our distance from the bird so it wasn't disturbed but a record shot was duly taken with the phone. 1st day back from South Africa and were off on a twitch!

Back to South Africa. The team proved their worth when the first birds seen on the pelagic were all South African rarities at this time of year - Manx Shearwater, Cory's Shearwater & Leach's Petrel.
Finding a trawler results in finding the birds!!


Black-browed Albatross being chased by Sooty Shearwater. All otherpics Black-browed.

A sight not seen very often off Hilbre - Sooty getting chased by Cape Fur Seal.


Shy Albatross.


White-chinnned Petrel. The last bird found by A A casued great excitement as we initially thought it was Spectacled Petrel but the colour of the bill tip gave it away..................
Above :Antarctic Prion - the bird below was identified from the photo by our on board guru, Rob Lesley, as the rarer Slender-billed Prion.



Cape Gannet - easily strung off the Wirral........................................

Pintado Petrel bearing superficial resemblence to feral pigeons found at Perch Rock at the mouth of the Mersey...............................

Northern Giant Petrel - big ugly bas*ards with a face only its mother could love.

Southern Giant Petrel - the difference is in the colour of the bill tip don't you know.
All in all a fantastic experience with two on board members (Sisal & Cord) also seeing a Northen Royal Albatross briefly amongst the throng of birds on the water. A great trip with skipper Alan Blacklaw at the helm of the good ship 'Destiny'who invited us back to the Yacht Club after for a few jars. It would have been rude to refuse.

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