Sunday, 28 August 2016

Out to the Smalls

We took the opportunity of yesterday's lower winds and swell to visit Grassholm and the Smalls.

The first surprise was several small groups of terns 2-3 miles out from Skokholm, with 3+ Sandwich Terns and 6-8 Commons. Around and beyond Grassholm we came across increasingly large rafts of Guillemots: with the engine off and drifting near them we could clearly hear the piping calls of the juveniles and the more familiar responses of the accompanying adults. All the birds were in winter plumage, the adults still being clearly larger than their chicks.

On the Smalls, amongst a roost of large gulls and a smaller number of Kittiwakes were several flocks and small groups of Turnstones, perhaps 20+ in all, plus 2 Ringed Plovers.

We had seen small numbers of Manxies on the way out, but far more on the way back (around 1700-1800), some in rafts of 20-30, others gliding around. In one raft was a noticeably larger dark shearwater: a Sooty!

Also 2 porpoises and 3 Common Dolphins, but no Stormies.