I had just arrived home when news broke that a Great Shear was lingering in the Bay. A quick change and I was heading west in the foulest weather we have seen in Dorset for a while. An update from Brett Spencer confirmed that the bird was still present, sitting on the sea, and within half an hour I was watching it, visible intermittently as it crested the waves in a churning bay, through which an Arctic Skua also passed.
At one point a gull mobbed the Shearwater, causing it to make a short flight during which a couple of record shots were possible - I would have left my camera in its bag but for a kindly birder who opened up the back of his camper van to give us some shelter from the torrential rain. A great way to start the weekend and a Dorset tick for most of those who made the effort to see it tonight. See here for some better pictures of this remarkable species.
|Not a sight you expect to see in Weymouth Bay in July - either the bird or the autumnal waves|
|The dark capped appearance and white horseshoe at the base of the tail help identify Great Shearwater|
|A better view of the white collar giving the dark capped appearance|
|A rear view showing the white patch at the base of the tail|