Yesterday I travelled to West Bay,Bridport in Dorset with fellow "toggers" Steve Hinton,Richard Smith and Alex Bevan to join a pelagic led by Dr Tom Brereton of Marine Life who monitors the small population in Lyme Bay of the most southerly colony of White-beaked Dolphins in British waters.
We met up at Llantrisant at 05.00 and with the roads quiet we arrived in West Bay at 07.30 ready for the 08.30 start.
It was generally quiet to start with few birds,but a small flock of 5 Common Scoter flew over and we started to pick up Gannets,Manxies,Kittiwakes and a single Arctic Skua of which I only managed to get a poor record shot.
At about 12.45 Alex spotted some tall dorsel fins above the surface of the water which we thought initially belonged to Risso's but on getting closer and with better views were quickly confirmed as those of White-beaked.
We headed back to West Bay mid-afternoon at a leisuerly pace and made diversions to a few trawlers where good numbers of seabirds were congregating in the hope of a free meal.
There were lots of birds sat on the water and we "flushed" a single Sooty Shearwater and I managed to get a "record" shot as it made off from the wake of our boat.
The weather had improved as the day went on and by the time we arrived back at the quay it was a beautiful warm late summer evening.
Four tired but hugely contented souls piled into the Jeep and with no hold-ups I eventually got home at 9.00pm at the end of a long 17 hour but very satisfying day out and one I would like to repeat next year.