Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 1, 2018

Glassy Seas

Out to sea with the help of Yorkshire Coast Nature, thanks to Richard, and the Skipper, Sean, of ‘All my Sons‘. The high pressure sitting over the UK works its magic –

– and out at sea –

– the surface is glassy calm,

sometimes eerily so.

It’s so calm seeing into the sea’s depth is easy, to reveal things pleasant, or in this case unpleasant.

Lion’s mane Jellyfish (Cyanea capillata)

Just as well the boat is powered by diesel, not sail, otherwise we would be becalmed, and unable to do the main part of the day, whale and seabird watching. The calm seas has the benefit of making it easier to see when the Minke whales are surfacing, before diving to catch the fish.

We start seeing them some distance off –

– before closing down the distance.

Northern Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

These are some 6-7m long, and surface for a few seconds to breathe before returning deep to hunt for the shoals of Mackerel and Sand Eels.

The exceptional weather allowed us to see over 200 ‘encounters’ or sightings with many individual whales, both adult and juvenile. One even swum under the boat.

There were seals out there too!

They hang vertically in the water when resting…

until they realise we are there!

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)

When they’ve had enough, they dive.

Pufflings were at sea, having left the nest.

Puffin (Fratercula arctica)

These young birds haven’t developed the bright bills of adulthood which they show during the breeding season. Parental care ends when the pufflings first leave the land and fly out the sea. After that, the young birds are on their own.

Fulmars were flying around the boat –

– following the ‘chum trail’ with interest.

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

There were also Sandwich Terns out at sea.

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

Perhaps the highlight bird for the trip were the Gannets.

Gannet (Morus bassanus)

It was a great thrill to see them dive so closely to the boat.

We come back to shore by passing Old Nab, near Beacon Hill.

Then we return to Staithes.

 

A ‘fintastic’ day out!


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