I was really looking forward to this trip as I'd never done a full days boat trip before. Two years ago I did a 3hour evening trip and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I couldnt wait to try the full day one. I got picked up at the Mill Dam at about 9.20 and soon we were heading out to the open sea. It soon became apparent that this was going to be a ROUGH trip, as the water was exceptionally choppy. Martin (Kitching, the trip organiser) said that it was very unusual for it to be this bad, and a couple of people were really struggling. But over the course of the day it did die down, but also the birds more than made up for it! As expected all the common species were seen well. Gulls included Great Black Back, Lesser Black Back, Herring, Common and Black Headed, and of course Kittiwakes. The only Tern seen was Common Tern. Auks were Razorbill, Guillemot and one or two Puffins. Other species seen were Red Throated Diver, Fulmar, Cormorant, Grey Plover and of course hundreds and hundreds of Gannets! This is one of the specialties of these pelagic trips, seeing these gorgeous birds feeding so close to the boat. All the photographers were getting outstanding pictures. And so to the really special birds. Two or three Manx Shearwaters were seen, but they were fairly distant as they very rarely come close to the boat. Its larger cousin though, Sooty Shearwater, was the exact opposite. We got absolutely unbelievable close views of this species, as they regularly sat just yards away from us and also flew really close. We probably seen close to double figures in all. Topping this, we were lucky to see three species of Skua - Arctic, Great and Pomarine. About four Greats were seen flying strongly past, a single Pom and a couple of Arctics. As I have done hardly any sea watching this year, most of these were nice year ticks for me. The only slight downside (if there was one) was that we didnt see any cetaceans. But that didnt distract from a truly great day.
As a footnote, the picture of the boat underneath the headline is the actual boat I was on, and not just that I am actually standing at the back of the boat in the picture!!! Steve (Seggs) just happened to be in the harbour taking photos of a few birds when he seen the boat coming in, and he knew I was on it so decided to take a quick pic! Talk about good timing!