The settled weather continues and we are getting good sightings on most trips.
Ocean Sunfish, one species that are being spotted more often.
Ocean Sunfish are definitely becoming more common. Is this because of the good weather, easier spotting conditions or global warming? Who knows. At the moment several are seen on each trip and some have even been seen leaping out of the water. I was even lucky enough to photograph a large individual not far off the islands. It was about 4 foot across, which is large for here but in the tropics they grow to 3 metres!
Several Basking Sharks are feeding along the Cornish coast.
After a cold start we actually have some Basking Sharks in the area at last. The best place to look is along the coast between Lamorna and Land’s End. A hotspot is in the bay at Porthcurno but if you notice a change in the texture of the sea’s surface, where currents are mixing it may well be worth looking there.
Bottlenose Dolphin seen not far from Penzance
Harbour Porpoises and dolphins are now being regularly seen as well and in the last few days we have recorded Risso’s, Bottlenose and Common Dolphins. We just need to spot a few White-beaked Dolphins and we would have the complete set! The Bottlenose were great to see again and was very poignant in that the group was the largest that I had seen for a long time.
A proper seabird, Great Shearwater a real oceanic wanderer
August and September are the best months of the year for unusual seabirds to visit this area and shearwaters have been the stars. Great and Cory’s Shearwaters from Tristan Da Cunha and the Mediterranean respectively, were spotted a few times from the ship. They are most impressive in a strong wind when they seem to dive in amongst the wave troughs and then tower to a great height. All without a single wing beat. I was very lucky on a recent trip on the Mermaid II out of Penzance when a Great Shearwater landed right next to the boat. Luckily the camera was close at hand.
Also Balearic Shearwaters from the Mediterranean and Sooty Shearwaters from the icy southern oceans are seen in ones and twos. The Sooty Shearwaters winter in the northern hemisphere, one of the few bird species that head the other way compared to the likes of our swifts, swallows, warblers and terns that cross the equator to winter in the southern hemisphere.
Paul Semmens Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trusts.