Sunday 11th September
Today was certainly an epic day as far as Balearic Shearwaters are concerned! Following yesterday evening's significant numbers passing Budleigh, things went a bit mad this morning as the Mrs, Doug and I watched in excess of 250+ birds pass west in just over 3hrs! The Balearic Shearwater world population is estimated to be only 20,000 - 30,00 individuals, 1% of this total is recognised as being Internationally Important.
Birds were streaming past, sometimes with Manx, but generally in continous small groups and often giving excellent views. A line of Manx seemed to be continually moving W further out for the first 1.5hrs. Orcombe Point approx. 3 miles to the west recorded 316 birds between 06.25hrs and 09.45, a new Devon record. Interestingly, very few birds were recorded further east and south, with Portland Bill recording just 10 birds and Berry Head just 30+ birds! However, 143 were seen past Chesil Cove and 77 past Seaton.
See here for map of sites: http://devonbirdnews.blogspot.com/2011/09/seaton-seawatching.html
Always worth being cautious with actual total numbers involved as it is certainly possible that birds are circulating just out of view, but with the majority seen within the first 2 hours, there are certainly very large numbers in Lyme Bay at present!
Also seen today between 07.00 - 10.30hrs:
Pom Skua - 3 including another very close adult
Bonxie - 6
Arctic Skua - 10+
Skua sp - 2
Kittiwake - 150+ on sea
Commic Tern - 30+
An hour this evening only produced
12+ Balearic Shearwaters W
2 Arctic Skua
1 Glaucous Gull on beach