Sunday, 1 August 2010


Talk about up with the Lark, Arose just after 03.00 hrs as I had to be at Ashleys (Of Ashley Hugos Photography Blog) house at 04.30 hrs as we had to be at St Ives for 05.00 hrs.

The reason for all this middle of the night activity was the first birding pelagic out of St Ives this year. Ashleys mother kindly took us down to the departure quay where a group of twelve motley individuals assembled for six hours of dedicated bird spotting !!!!  As the tide was low we were ferried out to the larger boat which was about 25ft in length. Once everyone was aboard we set off for a point about 7-1/2 miles out into St Ives bay, the forecast was for a moderate 15 mph wind from the North West.

So what were we hoping to see? well the usual is the main three Shearwaters, Kittiwakes, Skuas, and Storm Petrels amongst others, but with the main hope of getting Wilson's Petrel.

The ride out was better than any Roller coaster as the sea was a little choppy and a good Atlantic Ground swell was running, upon reaching our destination the Skipper cut the engines and proceeded Chumming, This procedure involves throwing a mixture of old smelly oily fish parts over the side to attract birds, this with the slight smell of diesel from the engine and the pitching from the boat in the swell was a heady concoction. It certainly seemed to work as from nowhere Gulls,Kittewakes. Storm Petrels turned up interested to investigate what was causing the smell. After a short time some of the chaps started to show less interest, one disappeared below and was not seen for the rest of the trip, another was quite seasick and a few more sat quietly on the seats. Now I have never suffered from seasickness but I have to admit I came darn close on two or three occasions.
I found it was better to stand and go with the movement than to sit down, as for photography it was difficult to hold binoculars talk about a camera with long lens. But I gave it a try and shot about a hundred frames, out of which I ended up with about three and those are not brilliant

All credit to young Ashley he stood there and his camera was firing away like a machine gun I hope he has some great images for his efforts.

So eventually it was back to port where we were greeted by the local friendly seal looking for fish scraps, he should have been seven miles out.

So a hundred shot only two worth posting, rocked from pillar to post, Would I do it all again ?
You bet I would.

For a complete list of what was seen on the day visit





  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Three great shots there Monty.

  3. Yeah, great images, especially in the conditions!!
    I think my images will need a bit of sharpening as the majority are just slightly out of focus.

  4. Lovely description of your trip out in the boat. I know that sick feeling having occsionally fished off St.Ives in a small boat.Smashing seal shot.

  5. Hi Monts, a interesting meeting! The movement of sea with birds creates a beautiful composition!
    Have a good sunday

  6. Undoubtedly the hardest and most skilful type of bird photography is on a pelagic. To get one Stormy image is a miracle ! Well done mate.

  7. Ciao Monts,very very beautiful, my favorite is the Atlantic Grey Seal

  8. Excellent images. I love the contrast of the Grey Seal and the water.
    ☼ Sunny
    P.S. Do you ever go to the St.Austell area? I was just curious :)

  9. Pictures are wonderful... Congratulations!

  10. I'm an avid birder but have always been a bit nervous about heading out on pelagic trips - I've done it just twice and got fairly lucky with the sea conditions. I'm glad to hear you felt it was worth it even when it was rougher out! It's amazing how different your Atlantic grey seal looks compared to our harbor seals over here in the northeast Pacific - the snout is so much bigger.

  11. Well done Mont. I didnt even get the camera out of its bag!! We could do with a bigger boat!!

  12. Nice shooting in those conditions Monty. Reminds me of a trip I took out of Agadir a few years ago except the swell got so high that the skipper turned tail back to port!!