We didn't manage to find any Balearic Shearwaters, which seem not to reach the Bristol Channel until September or October, but an estimated 10–20,000 Manx Shearwaters gathered in a spectacular 'feeding frenzy' off the East Side in the early afternoon and six Bottlenose Dolphins (including a calf) were off the West Side, seen from Shutter Point. The team also had multiple sightings of Common Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises, while additional seabirds included Gannets, Kittiwakes, Shags, Fulmars, a few Common Terns, small numbers of Guillemots – some now sporting winter plumage – and (during one of the transects) a single Storm Petrel.
On the island, en route to and from our various seawatching points, we saw a Pied Flycatcher (Millcombe), one Sand Martin (Castle), 9 Cormorants (including a migrating flock of 8 heading south along the East Side), a Grey Heron (East Side), a Kestrel (South West Field) and a few Willow Warblers. But it was the amazing concentration of Manx Shearwaters that will live long in the memory. Thanks to Andrew Bengey, skipper of Obsession II, for a superb day.
|The survey team at Ilfracombe (R–L): Kevin, Annette, Dave, Steve, James & Tim D|
|The team had the island surrounded!|