17 Aug 2011

Scilly's pelagics. - day 1. Friday 12th August

A plan was mooted earlier this year to travel to the Scillys for a few days and take part in the birders pelagics organised by Joe Pender, Bob Flood and Ash Fisher. Four of us planned to go  - myself, Matt Meehan, Mark Payne & Jason Atkinson. Matt & Jase needed Wilson's Petrel whilst Mark & I were hoping for something like a Fea's!!

Unlike most plants this one actually materialised and we found ourselves driving through the night and arriving at Penzance around 03.00. We endured a sleepless few hours in the car in Tesco's car park before mooching down to the quayside, parking the car and grabbing a fried breakfast.

The old flat bottomed rust bucket left on time on glorious weather and we soon settled in to a sea watching routine safely ensconced on the lee of the upper deck. Hearing that Joe was planning a trip out Friday night we had a quick conflab before I contacted Joe and told him to make sure our names wree on the list!!

Trying to keep prices down we'd decided to camp on the Garrison and soon met up with Matt Eades, Jake Everitt & Chris Griffin. A great bunch of lads. With the tents set up we just had time to pay our respects to the long staying juvenile Woodchat Shrike at the top end of the Island before our scheduled 17.00 departure from the quayside on the good ship Sapphire.

By now the weather had started to deteriorate and we soon hit swells of around 2 m and the rain started....................... Matty wasn't the first to add to the chum mix and he did well to run to the lee of the boat rather than puking into the wind. One lady just lay face down where she was and puked all over the deck.

Storm Petrels gathered around the chum slick and were joined by a Bonxie as the weather got even rougher.

Expectations were high and suddenly Bob uttered the words we'd all been waiting for 'Wilsons coming down the port side' Mayhem and suddenly all sickness was forgotten as a Wilson's Storm Petrel paddled and picked its way through the tempting morsels of the chum. The bird proceeded to fly around us for about 4o minutes and was joined by a second bird before they both departed and it was time to head for shore. First target bird in the bag for Matty & Jase.

Back to the tents, a quick shower and change and we all headed to the Scillonian club for a celebratory few beers and some well earned grub.

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