Wednesday, 9 March 2011

08/03/2011 - English Channel 20nm south of Start Point

Around the boat yesterday a noticeable increase in Lesser-blacked Gulls (birds moving back north) and an increase in Fulmars (also moving north? More on this below). Also of note were a pod of c.100 Common Dolphins and 2 Great Skuas.
Among the Fulmars was one very smart intermediate phase bird. These dark birds often turn up this time of year, so a good time to look for them. I only normally see them at distance while seawatching, so good to get some nice views and photos up close.
Here's a comparison of a 'normal' light phase (left) with this intermediate phase bird (right) and a couple of flight shots of it below. Also notice the darker band on the bill compared to the normal phase bird.

They get much darker than this, with my darkest bird to date past Berry Head on 29/01/2009. Some shots of it for comparison. This Fulmar was so dark, it initially it looked like another species (the bill appearing all dark)!