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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Liverpool pelagic

Last month I was priveleged to go on a pelagic trip out of Liverpool.The target birds were Gannet,Fulmar,Manx Shearwater,Great Skua and maybe storm petrel!On the trip were 4 photographers and 4 bird watchers.We set off aboard a craft called `Discovery` owned by Gary Mills.Primarily used for fishing parties this craft was geared up to travel as far away as Ireland carrying 11 people.

Hopes were high as we left the Mersey channel in glorious conditions,clear skies and light winds.We had a good selection of bait with us to make up a `chum slick`hopefully to attract the Petrels.Also we had plenty of bread to get the gulls going which in turn,would attract the Gannets.The skipper Gary had brought along a Deck hand,who also was to fish for mackerel which when thrown overboard ,would entice the Gannets to dive!These were the plans for the day.Gary knew exactly were to go and headed out a good 20 mile to an area he knew well.He`d previously seen dolphin and seals in the same area that we were heading to.
The journey out went quickly,and we were soon on our mark.A few gulls were milling about so we got the bread going in regularly and Richard,the organiser got his chum slick overboard.Soon up to 30 gulls were around the boat with a Fulmar and a couple of Gannets.We soon had the Gannets diving for the mackerel less than 10 metres from the boat,it was difficult trying to catch them dive on the camera.A couple of Bonxies were dragged into the melee,giving really good views.Manx Shearwater were never to far away as they skimmed the surface,but only one distant Storm Petrel was seen!It was a truly memorable day in excellent company.Gary the skippers commentary on the diving Gannets was worth the fee alone.I tried my best with the camera,but the gannet dives were difficult,such was the speed when they entered the water.I`ll leave you with a few images of the day and we are already planning another trip for the end of Sept.Bye for now and many thanks for dropping by!!!
Manx Shearwater.

Up to 20 were about the boat skimming the waves.

This Fulmar was picking food items from the `chum mix`

Throwing in plenty of bread brought the gulls in close,which in turn attracted the other species!!

The beginning of a dive!

You had to be quick with the shutter button,as they plummeted from the sky.

They came up from the depths amidst a spray of water.

Less than 10 metres from the boat.Looks like this one missed its catch!!

The `Bonxie` or Great Skua kept an eye on things!

They breed up in Northern Scotland on the islands,and are quite a predator!


  1. Nice read and accompanying images of your pelagic trip one of which I haven't to this day had the courage to make, although your day appears to have been a calm one my luck would be to go on a day of rough seas in which case I'd probably make a complete fool of myself and be sick.

    Thanks for sharing this Paul.

  2. Excellent photography Paul love the Manxies shots .

  3. Paul.An excellent account accompanied by some great images.I don't think it will be as nice at the end of the month but you never know!! I am excited as you know and hope all goes to plan.Thanks for whetting my appetite and speak to you soon.

  4. Very nice images captured under difficult conditions. Good pictures are never easy on a pelagic trip when the boat is in constant motion.