First Trips of 2018

 Our first trips of 2018 had unusually calm weather. There were good numbers of Razorbills and Guillemots, plenty of Grey Seals on St Clement’s Island (including at least 15 pups from last year), a young Glaucous Gull, a single Manx Shearwater, the “mixed-up” male Eider, relatively few Gannets, Kittiwakes and Fulmars, and 2-4 small pods of Harbour Porpoise. The highlight (for me at least!) however, was the long-staying/returning Pacific Diver we saw resting with 3 Great Northern Divers about a mile offshore. It was seen briefly as we came in from the fishing trip, but obligingly remained in roughly the same area when we returned on the cruise. As the name suggests this species should only occur in the Pacific, but in the last 10-12 years there have been several Atlantic records – mostly around the UK – presumably taking advantage of retreating Arctic sea-ice. This particular bird has been returning to Mount’s Bay for  years but can be very elusive, either due to conditions or it’s habit of feeding miles offshore on shoaling bait-fish. It is usually wary of boats, and is frequently misidentified due to it’s similarity to the commoner Black-throated Divers that also winter here. A good start to the new season!
 Cheers, Martin