I have been a busy bee recently, with a holiday and a busy work schedule meaning I have had very little time to write a new post. So what have I been up to . . .
I was lucky to spend 2 weeks aboard a cruise ship heading for the Canary Islands. This meant crossing the famous Bay of Biscay!
Thankfully the crossing there and back went perfectly, and allowed for great sea-watching opportunities. Gannets were the most numerous species, closely followed in numbers by Cory’s Shearwater. Great, Manx, and Sooty Shearwaters, and Bonxie and Pomarine Skua were also noted out at sea, and often a congregation of birds meant that a larger animal was to be found under the waters surface!
It is such a thrill to see the spray of a whale’s breath condensing in the air. Different heights and shapes of the spray can hint on the species, and aid ID. Our crossings in the Bay of Biscay allowed good views of the following: Sperm Whale, Fin Whale, Minke Whale, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, and White-beaked Dolphins. Many sprays and fins went unidentifiable!
In the weeks following my return to England, I was leading 2 tours of the North Norfolk Coast. Both of these were bird-watching focused, and the North Norfolk coast is one of the best places to do such that!
The first tour tallied up a total of 127 different bird species, whilst the second tour recorded 114, both extremely respectable totals. Several bird species were firsts for a lot of the birders on the holiday – which makes my role all the more rewarding. It is such an exciting feeling to see a bird for the first time! Highlights from the 2 trips included: Surf Scoter, Snow Bunting, Twite, and Little Auk.
The sheer numbers of waders on the Wash, the seals at Blakeney, and the pink-footed geese on at Holkham, are sights that will linger in my memory forever. Reports of the holidays will follow in due course.