Friday 31 July 2020

30 July 2020: Zino's Petrel - 3mls SW of Bishop Rock Lighthouse

After Monday night's fantastic seabird extravaganza, surely this pelagic trip out to the open ocean could only disappoint...

We had Wilson's Petrels, we had Great, Cory's and Manx Shearwaters, we had masses of Storm Petrels, we caught a Blue Shark, we saw Porbeagle Shark, Sunfish and Common Dolphins - and none of that will be what this pelagic will be remembered for...

Whilst heading back from a pleasant pelagic trip, Higo said to me, "Common on Golden Balls, you're leaving it a bit late." "Don't worry," I replied, "We'll shortly be having twenty seconds of utter madness!"

Ten minutes later, we had over forty seconds of utter madness! As we headed north east, back to the islands, the brilliant Bob Flood picked out a fasting tracking Pterodroma pertrel - his speed at initially calling "Fea's Petrel" alerted everyone on board, to the bird rapidly heading west. 

Watching the bird initially through bins, this bird was light and bright - small bodied and long-winged - and bloody fast! It felt quite different from the Fea's I saw previously out on a pelagic several years ago.

Like many on board, the choice was simply 'watch it or photograph it?' I opted for the latter, always good to get at least something on the camera. Running down to the boat - find the bird, point the camera, press the shutter and pray... To be honest, my pics aren't as good as Zac and Danni Hinchcliffe's pictures (one of which is kindly reproduced below), but it came as no surprise, following the chats last night, that this morning MEGA ALERT would confirm that Bob Flood had sufficient evidence in the pictures to call the bird a Zino's Petrel.

Zino's Petrel, 3mls SW of Bishop Rock Lighthouse, Isles of Scilly

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