07 August 2009

A little maritime excursion

There can't be many better ways to spend a sunny Friday in August than eight hours steaming around Lyme Bay for cetaceans and seabirds? If the boat's engine had been a touch less tinnitus-inducing and we'd managed to rustle up a few drums of rancid soup les fruit de mer (lovingly laced with fish liver oil) it would have been a perfect trip, but even so, we got what we came for - 20+ White-beaked Dolphin. A few individuals showed down to a handful of yards, evading the camera naturally enough but giving crippling views.

A couple of animals further out,... aww look at their ickle white noses!

The lack of chum meant we had to take the birds as we found them: 2 Balearic and 20+ Manx Shearwaters, 2 Great and 1 Arctic Skua, and three Common Scoter were the sum of the 'notables'. Slightly less predictable was a constant trickle of Large White butterflies, presumably blown offshore by the gentle north-westerly.

I'd predict records of more interesting pelagic wanderers may be just round the corner - wouldn't be too surprised if Wilson's Petrel snuck onto a few Dorset lists with a little effort. More information on the 'Lyme Bay Project' can be found here.

As that famed French birder Luc Besson once penned, "Between what you know and what you wish, lies the secret of... [The Big Blue]",... that's a Manxie by the way, not Rosanna Arquette.

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