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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 17:19   #1
wolfbirder
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Berry Head, Devon - today

Excellent numbers of large shearwaters (over 1000), with 20-30mph southerly winds blowing them onto the coast.

Wind direction is similar tomorrow, with some rain, but wind speed in same direction only 10-12mph.

What are chances of large shearwaters?
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 17:26   #2
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What are chances of large shearwaters?
Your chances are probably higher there than if you stay in the Midlands :)
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 17:50   #3
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I remember years ago and a mate rang me and said, 'get your kit, we're off to Cornwall, all the seawatching experts are predicting a massive day'.

Day total, two Sooties and a Manx



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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 18:31   #4
Larry Sweetland
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Good luck Nick If I wasn't going to a funeral tomorrow, I'd be pushing for a trip down there, with hope of seeing a Great Shear at last.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 19:15   #5
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Your chances are probably higher there than if you stay in the Midlands :)
Always words of wisdom Jos (:-

Andy - that's what I'm worried about .
Larry, yep that's literally what I want - just a few Greats and Corys. But just not convinced about the wind strength.

The beauty of sea watching is it changes from day to day, being a Midlands lad I'm clueless about lows and highs, well I know plenty of lows but that's about football ��
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 19:22   #6
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h.
being a Midlands lad I'm clueless about lows and highs, well I know plenty of lows but that's about football ��
Most people are mate, that was my point, with a Brit list of 450, I still haven't seen Great Shearwater either, would be one of my 'tarts ticks' along with Caspian Tern.


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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 19:46   #7
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1000's? Saw reports of 100+ but where did this report come from? (Still impressive mind).

I worked really hard on my local patch today in Cornwall (Falmouth) for a single Sooty in 4 3/4 hours. Trying to get large shears on the patch list ... it didn't help that visibility was dire this morning and this evening the manxies were feeding 3 - 4 miles out.

Tomorrow will be the day ...

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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 19:49   #8
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... I get your concern too Nick. Last time I tried for Great Shear the wind dropped to way less than the forecast, there was zilch, and it cost lots of time and money. If you've got all the money and time in the world I guess it doesn't matter, but if you need to carefully choose what you do with your limited time and money away, then it makes sense to make the best valued judgement you can on whether it's worth going or not. Unfortunately, even getting opinions of the most seasoned seawatchers can't take into account the weather forecast being wrong!
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 19:58   #9
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One factor is that birds can be returning the day after a big blow - sometimes more can be seen on the quieter day after as they re-orientate.

It's guesswork from this end though I'm afraid. Whether Portland as a safe bet for the chance of a handful, or increasingly further west towards and into Cornwall as the Devon birds move back west I don't know. And with reduced winds pushing them inshore they may all just be further out too much to start with ... being large shears and all.

Maybe head down really early and hope the Amur gets relocated too?? ...
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 20:20   #10
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Really appreciate the feedback, I feel pretty dim when it comes to understanding weather fronts.

1000s was a typo, sorry meant 100s.

I've only seen one Great Shear, at pendeen when 36 passed that day, tho I saw it really well. Also saw 2 Corys very badly tho seen hundreds abroad. Have already spent 80 on my failed attempt to see the Amur Falcon, so it's credit card time again.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 20:31   #11
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Really appreciate the feedback, I feel pretty dim when it comes to understanding weather fronts.

1000s was a typo, sorry meant 100s.

I've only seen one Great Shear, at pendeen when 36 passed that day, tho I saw it really well. Also saw 2 Corys very badly tho seen hundreds abroad. Have already spent 80 on my failed attempt to see the Amur Falcon, so it's credit card time again.
And you might get lucky that the falcon reappears while you're down there, sure that must have crossed your mind, no?
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 20:36   #12
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Don't know what % anyone could put on it, but must be >80% that large shears would go past Porthgwarra tomorrow? Wouldn't risk Berry Head as normally <10%???

If you don't mind the fact that you may dip, as Jos says you have to be there to have any chance ...


And chance the Amur gets relocated on the day ... hmm weather not great but <10%?? (weekend, but no-ones looking as they're seawatching, even if it there to be re-found)


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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 20:38   #13
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And you might get lucky that the falcon reappears while you're down there, sure that must have crossed your mind, no?
I'm definitely hoping it does get pinned down somewhere, but actually I'm not convinced it will ever be reliable Jos..............Cornwall is just such a tough area to cover. Its not been seen since at all.

Berry Head is much easier to access from the midlands (distance wise obviously) than Pendeen or Porthgwarra. Was just thinking a trip there may save me having to endure the latter again.

But yes, ideally would love a day trip where good sea birds and the falcon fell into the viewfinder.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 20:44   #14
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Don't know what % anyone could put on it, but must be >80% that large shears would go past Porthgwarra tomorrow? Wouldn't risk Berry Head as normally <10%???

If you don't mind the fact that you may dip, as Jos says you have to be there to have any chance ...


And chance the Amur gets relocated on the day ... hmm weather not great but <10%?? (weekend, but no-ones looking as they're seawatching, even if it there to be re-found)


It seems to me that these large Shears are getting easier as each year passes. So surely at some point I will get better views.

It took huge effort for me to drive overnight, down to Cornwall last week, and then try to bird all day on no sleep, and then drive home again.

I'm sure these large Shearwaters only used to be gettable a couple of days per year, now it seems they can be seen for the better part of a month. Is this a fair perception? If so what's changed?
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 21:26   #15
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If the perceived increase is real -

Maybe a tad of global warming bringing more a little further up the Bay of Biscay with rising sea temperatures so the chance of any random weather bringing them to our shores increases? (cf dramatic Balearic increase too).

Seawatchers using slightly more unusual locations than just the big 3 (P,P and St Ives)?? More readiness to seawatch anytime (not just in a massive gale - I know people who will only go out when it's blowing a hoolie)?

Perhaps??


Other points - please don't take my word for it on Berry Head

- you really should try and connect with others up your way for these trips - share costs and driving!! Get a crew - or maybe see here on BF if others want to go down for a weekend trip on these kind of occasions??

!!
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 22:36   #16
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... mind you, looks like the Lizard was really the place to be today

http://www.cbwps.org.uk/cbwpsword/sightings/ (21/07)
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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 01:52   #17
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... mind you, looks like the Lizard was really the place to be today

http://www.cbwps.org.uk/cbwpsword/sightings/ (21/07)
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Lizard Point: 296 Corys Shearwater, 66 Great Shearwater, 9 Sooty Shearwater
How typical is that of the average species ratio there? Very surprised that Sooty should be the least common of the three.

Up here in Northumbs, the ratio is somewhere around 2 Cory's : 1 Great : 500 Sooty (i.e. Sooty vastly outnumbers the other two).
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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 07:28   #18
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- you really should try and connect with others up your way for these trips - share costs and driving!! Get a crew - or maybe see here on BF if others want to go down for a weekend trip on these kind of occasions??

!!
I agree I can't moan about costs really, I choose to bird alone in the main because I like to decide last minute whether to go on a trip - I suffer from insomnia a lot so would hate to let people down by cancelling last minute.

I'm not anti-social in general ):-
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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 07:59   #19
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Must be a fantastic experience to see an exceptional Shearwater movement like yesterday........ I live inland so I've never had the chance. Weather outlook is quite unsettled with westerlies and fronts so looks like a good outlook for more large Shearwaters in next few weeks?
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Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 22:34   #20
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After missing all the action, today's funeral is over, and I've got a chance to go to Portland tomorrow if I sober up in time to get there for dawn. Anyone up on weather patterns think there's a decent chance of Great shear? It would be a bad idea for me to go unless there's at least a fighting chance.

I see the RBA map dropped the numbers of Great Shears off the bill since this morning from 4 to 1

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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 09:30   #21
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Larry did you see that there was a Great Shearwater sat on the sea off Portland Bill yesterday aft ?? :)
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 19:28   #22
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I suffer from insomnia a lot
I recommend lengthy Jazz bass solos. Works for me.
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Old Monday 24th July 2017, 22:32   #23
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For those wondering, I went to Berry head from 06:30 to circa 09:15 on the Saturday and saw circa 10 Manx! then went to Farmoor for Black Terns and dipped, not a great day! Went to Pendeen on Sunday and had two Greats and one Corys, lots of miles and little reward, also done 6 hours on Sunday for the falcon with the expected result! But if you don't try then you won't see anything!
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Old Tuesday 25th July 2017, 11:02   #24
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For those wondering, I went to Berry head from 06:30 to circa 09:15 on the Saturday and saw circa 10 Manx! then went to Farmoor for Black Terns and dipped, not a great day! Went to Pendeen on Sunday and had two Greats and one Corys, lots of miles and little reward, also done 6 hours on Sunday for the falcon with the expected result! But if you don't try then you won't see anything!
Quite right Cliff....no gain we'out pain! Indeed the more "fruitless" hours you put in the "sweeter" the eventual find! I can recall (many years ago now) with a crew of three taking a speculative (weather forecast looking promising) 'through the night' (c10 hour round trip) early August from London to Porthgwarra. Cleaning up on the perhaps hundred odd Cory's that were present, with two out of the three managing to "grip" off the driver with a single GS! It was a "memorable" return drive...mostly silent with palpable angst from the aforesaid, interspersed with "teeth gnashing" and much suppressed mirth (and tears) from the "grippers"....a-a-a-h those were the days!
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Old Tuesday 25th July 2017, 15:56   #25
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Larry did you see that there was a Great Shearwater sat on the sea off Portland Bill yesterday aft ?? :)
Ah, no hadn't seen that. I didn't go, but would have only been there in the morning if I had gone, so would have missed it anyway. One day...... I'll have to leave something for when foreign travel's no longer possible I suppose!
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