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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Stormy Petrels

With the arrival of stiff North Westerly winds ,I decided on a last minute trip to the Mersey estuary Liverpool.  There was a good chance of observing migrating Leach`s Storm Petrels.These starling sized birds are blown inland by stormy conditions and the areas around New Brighton/Wallasey and Leasowe are some of the best places in Britain to watch them at such close quarters.
    They are named after a famous zoologist called William Elford Leach who obviously spent a great deal of  time studying them and their habitat.They are known to breed on remote islands in the cold northernareas of the Atlantic & Pacific.Strictly nocturnal in the breeding season helps them from being predated by gulls and Skuas.They are mainly black in appearance with a white rump and slightly forked tail,somewhat akin to a large House martin!Their flight is fluttering and they patter the water with their feet when feeding.

 I arrived quite early and started my search into the bay,though nothing was about, only a manx shearwater which whizzed by.The wind was beginning to increase and the tide was rapidly approaching.I was really confident that they would put in an appearence in such windy conditions.I moved further down the coast towards the Wallasey lifeguards building were one or two other birders had also gathered.It wasn`t long before a Petrel was spotted skimming the waves,though it was a good way out.Slowly but surely other birds began to appear in the distance and we had good views over the next couple of hours.I managed a few shots with the camera but it was difficult in the strong wind.The spray was also a problem, but I persevered for a good while enjoying these special birds. Thanks for looking in at the blog and hope you enjoy the rather limited shots of the Leach`s Storm Petrels!!!