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PELTIC 2021 update 17 - 5 November

5 November

On the 30th day of surveying we start the final transect running from offshore to finish near Cape Cornwall. The forecast was, thankfully, right and we got to the bridge to find a light force 3 northerly wind and only a gentle swell which barely moved the Endeavour. As we were heading to the southeast we were also very relieved that there was a bit of cloud cover to hide the sun, making for good viewing conditions.

Photo 1: Common Dolphin

espite the good conditions things got off to a very slow start and after one and a half hours we had only recorded 46 birds, it was going to be a long day if things carried on like this. Fortunately, after about 09:30 things did start to warm up a little with a steady trickle of Common Dolphin sightings (photo 1) with about 170 animals spread over 16 encounters. On the bird front, and following the trend of the last few days, a steady trickle of Puffins (photo 2), such that by the end of the transect we had logged 137.

Photo 2: Puffin

As we neared Cape Cornwall there was a notable surge in bird numbers, particularly Kittiwake (photo 3), Gannet, Guillemot, and Razorbill (photo 4). There was evidently plenty of surface fish for them to eat judging from the activity.

The weather was glorious as we finished which showed the rugged Cornish coast off to good effect. Cape Cornwall and Pendeen headlands stood out (photos 5 & 6) as did the numerous ruins of tin mines along this bit of coast (photo 7). As we headed south we passed one last rock lighthouse – Longships – with the backdrop of Land’s End (photos 8 & 9).

We now have a 36 hour steam back to Lowestoft, we'll keep an eye open for any wildlife during the day on Saturday and then again before we dock on Sunday morning - after all it was the Sunday last year that provided the Long-eared Owl on board.

I really enjoy doing this survey and I’d like to thank Emma for the good company during the many hours (something in excess of 250 I think) we’ve spent on the bridge staring at the sea. Also, many thanks to all the crew and CEFAS scientists on board the CEFAS Endeavour who also help make this survey such a great five weeks.

I’ll do a follow up post over the next few days with a few details on some of the totals we logged for various species, so keep an eye on the website and Facebook.

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