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From our surveyors: Penzance-Isles of Scilly 8 October

Summary of Sightings:

Marine Mammals

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1

Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 13


Seabirds

Guillemot Uria aalge 264

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3

Gannet Morus bassanus 261

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 16

Plover sp. 1


We were welcomed on board the Scillonian III by the friendly crew on Saturday morning. Conditions were excellent for surveying, a little bit of swell but otherwise calm. Seabird sightings were regular throughout the mornings survey, mainly Gannet and Guillemot.


During the first stages of the trip, a Harbour Porpoise was seen close to the boat – the excellent sea conditions allowed for good views of this shy cetacean. Mid-morning, we spotted a feeding frenzy of Gannets diving into the water. We watched closely and spotted Common Dolphin feeding with them.

Grey Seal (Alan Sumnall)

We arrived in St Mary’s just before 11am. After leaving the boat we had a lovely walk around the island, following the coastal path. During our walk we spotted a Grey Seal near the beach, so we stopped and had a relaxing lunch watching the seal. We also saw Rock Pipits, Herring Gull, Cormorants and good numbers of House Sparrow and Starlings. The latter two are now much less common than at any time in living memory, fortunately they were remarkably tame and allowed us to get good photos.

House Sparrow (Alan Sumnall)

We boarded the boat for our return journey at around 4pm and set off shortly afterwards. Our return journey was equally as enjoyable, with excellent conditions and a reduced swell. We quickly sighted many seabirds as we left the coast, in particular Gannet and Guillemot, and also a Grey Seal some distance from the coast.

Common Dolphin (Library photo: Peter Howlett)

On our return we were also treated to two lovely sightings of Common Dolphin jumping out of the water. We arrived back at Penzance just before 7pm. Once again, our thanks go to Captain Vicky and very helpful and friendly staff and crew of the Ark Dania who made this a very enjoyable crossing.


Alan Sumnall and Nicola Simpson Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

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