After a poor nights sleep in the car, I woke up before dawn and headed up to join the assembling crowd at the watchpoint at Porthgwarra.
As soon as there was enough light, we could see that there were plenty of seabirds passing the headland. There were still good numbers of Cory’s Shearwater going west (and some lingering), but for me the highlight of the morning came an hour or so later, when a nice intermediate phase adult Pomarine Skua went past, giving brief chase to a Cory’s as it went. Although these Skuas are not particularly rare, it was a new species for me, and one that has become a real ‘bogey bird’ over the last few years. It was nice to find and identify it myself also.
Another good bird passed a few minutes later – a Great Shearwater, which flew past at relatively close range, clearly showing the smudgy dark markings on the underside, and the dark upperside with pale rump band and collar. Other highlights from the morning were, 6 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Arctic Skua, 2 Great Skua, 10 Storm-Petrel and a Sandwich Tern.
By 9:30, things had quietened down, and so I decided to try my luck with some land birding. I visited several locations, starting at Polgigga, then visiting Drift Reservoir, Marazion Marsh and the Hayle Estuary. There weren’t many birds about, with a few Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Black-Tailed Godwit and a fly-by Kingfisher at Hayle providing the only interest.
I finished off the day with another few hours at Porthgwarra, but the wind had dropped significantly, and there really was very little offshore, with a couple of Balearic Shearwater and a Great Skua – the only birds seen. The cetaceans made up for it though, with a distant Minke Whale, and a few Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin seen during the watch. Another day of quality seawatching!