This is the strangest 'Spring' I remember. I am writing this on Tresco after a glorious sunny day while Snow is being forecast in other areas of the country... Last Tuesday the residents and visitors on Scilly were shown just how incredible the weather can be. We witnessed a gale force 10-11 storm with winds of up to 60 miles per hour batter our islands for the evening. What was most surprising was the speed in which we went from a calm, sunny afternoon to what felt like the apocalypse!
I was down on St Marys Quay when the storm hit and poked my camera out of a window and took a few shots before putting some arriving guests onto the Cyclone and Hurricane (aptly named boats!) for what must have been the most harrowing boat journey I have witnessed!
It is amazing to think that only a few days later the seas are flat calm and we are back to what we would all like to be usual May weather. I took the opportunity to venture out on the Firethorn for a circular trip around Men-A-Vaur and the Northern Rocks to see what we could find.
There were not too many seabirds around but the ones we did see did perform nicely for all of us onboard. I have been wanting to take a good picture of a Gannet for some time but a combination of me not being very skilful and them always soaring high up and out of the range of my camera. Not today though.
This guy must have been absolutely starving as despite their usual shyness, no less than twenty metres away from the boat, he tucked his wings behind him and dropped out of the sky dive bombing into the sea in the hunt for sustenance.
You are pretty much guaranteed to see a good number of Grey Seals basking on the rocks in the sunshine on any of the sightseeing trips around the islands.
It was quite entertaining seeing this seal hauling their flabby body up onto the rock, I think this was attempt number four.
At this time of year there really is only one kind of bird on most of our visitors minds, Puffins. They are visitors to our islands between April and around mid July before losing the colour on their beaks and returning back to the Atlantic. After searching all of the usual haunts we were unsuccessful. Numbers seem to be considerably lower than usual years. I was told by someone that seabirds who spend the winterout in the Atlantic have perished due to the very large storms we experienced over recent months. The have been so vast in size that they could not escape the wind and waves. How true this is I do not know.
Just as the boatman was about to call it a day one solitary puffin appeared, it almost felt like a token gesture. Out came the cameras and the 'Aahs'
Puffins flap their wings up to 400 times a minute and so I was quite happy getting the shot without too much blur.
Back on dry land I took a wander around the North End and bumped into our resident Kestrel. It can be seen all over the island but I seem to find him/her (?) around the back of the Sea Gardens complex and Gimble most frequently. I think the yellow legs look funny....
I have been trying to avoid this just being a blog of little fluffy chicks but I think I have to put one of the cygnets we have on the Great Pool at the moment.
The pool is currently crammed with new parents escorting their offspring across the waters to feeding grounds. Moorhens, Coots, Mallards, Swans and, for what I believe is the first time, Pochards are all proud new mums and dads. I am still not too sure whether the eggs in the Swans nest picture in the previous post has actually been abandoned. The nest is checked on every now and again but I really don't think they are the most proficient of parents.
Finally while trying to photograph Swifts drinking I took this picture. Yet again it is not the best by far but there is something I like about it. I think you need to enlarge it to see it properly.