Monday, September 05, 2005

Pembroke Dock-Rosslare-Pembroke Dock

Jeff had the great idea of doing an Irish Sea trip, and organized the booking. A late night, or is that early morning, start saw us leave Maesteg at 12:40am, and a smooth journey saw arrive at the Port in easy time for the 02:45am departure. There's even free parking. We found a couple of three seater seats to lie out on in an attempt to get a couple of hours sleep on the outward journey. Jeff managed better than I did, as the constant snoring of another passenger kept me entertained. We made our way up on the top deck about half an hour before getting into Rosslare. That was worth it, as the boat started churning the water up, attracting loads of birds, including adult Mediterranean Gull, adult and immature Kittiwakes, Sandwich and Common Terns. We spent a couple of hours in the ferry terminal, picking up Manx Shearwaters, two Artic Skuas, more terns and a few Razorbills. On leaving at 08:45am, we went straight up on the top deck. It proved to be too windy for 'scopes to be useful, but it didn't matter as the birds were close enough to see easily with binoculars. We got a nice Pomarine Skua, 100s, perhaps 1000s, of Manx Shearwaters, 100s of Gannets, a really nice Great Skua, 3 distant Storm-petrels, Guillemots, Razorbills and flocks of 'Commic' Terns which were just too distant to pin down to either Common or Arctic. To cap it all though, was a Cory's Shearwater, which was a lifer for me. Jeff managed to see a Minke Whale too, but I missed it. We got back to Pembroke Dock at 13:00, so we had a good 4 hours seawatching. The sense of anticipation as you travel is great, as you're watching birds almost constantly, and there's a real sense that something good is coming next. Even if a rarity doesn't come up though its still so good to see so many of these birds in their element. I'm sure we'll go again. The great thing is that it can be organized right at the last minute when you know the birds are around and the conditions will be favourable.

4 comments:

Tim said...

Do they count as British ticks though?

Wayne said...

You're right Tim. We got good birds in what I estimated was both the Irish and British part of the Sea, based on mobile phone signals. The skuas and Cory's Shearwater were on the Irish side. Storm-petrel was a British tick.

Tim said...

The Arctic Skua and Sooty Shearwaters we saw off NZ in February were at least Commonwealth year ticks !

Wayne said...

Oh no, there's another list I'll need to start!