Last week I blogged that I could feel the anticipation that the Fulmar were not too far away and would be arriving back soon from their annual moult at sea. I received a message from Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group on Thursday to tell me that 5 had returned to a local haul out beach so I only had 48 hrs to wait before I could check out my patches.
When I left the house this morning it was a lovely sunny windless morning. 20 minutes and 6 miles later I parked up in the layby and sat listening to the all to familiar sound of the wind howling around the car. A look behind me and a rainbow suggested I should stay put for a few minutes. Sure enough a few specks of rain and then it hammered down.
It quickly dried up so it wellies and waterproofs (that don't leak) on and off for a walk. The wind was bloody strong, I could hardly stand up in places. Hells Mouth produced just 3 of these magnificent beasts as they skirted the cliffs to within feet before swerving and continuing their flight. A fairly sheltered area behind some gorse allowed me to set up the scope to watch small numbers of Gannet, Auk and Kittiwake flying by and Shearwaters as they sheared through the troughs on a choppy sea. A single Raven flew close overhead krrrronking as it did before being caught in an up-draught and gone
I drove down to Tehidy car park to walk to Western Cove, it was full sunshine by time I got here still in full waterproofs giving my body the temperate climate of a sauna. At Hells Mouth I have no records for Nov and Dec but I do know Fulmar can number over 90 in January yet only 25 pairs bred here last year, 28 this year. Here at Western Cove I have no Fulmar records at all outside of the breeding season so I am going into the unknown. Today 30 had returned so going from the figures at Hells Mouth can I expect to see over 300 here towards the end of the year? Approx. 70 pairs breed in this area so we'll soon find out.
Tomorrow is the monthly WeBS count at Stithians and Pendarves Lake