Monday, 4 June 2012

200 hungry seabirds & the Jubilee

Well, the weather brightened up yesterday and the swell has decreased pretty nicely so it’s looking like we’ll be back on track with the ROV work from today which is good news! Still it’s been pretty cool out here with the heavy weather and although there hasn’t much going on in terms of wildlife that we could really see (except the pod of 20 pilot whales which I missed! Bah!).

Making celebratory Jubilee hats

The bad weather did give us a chance for some hat-making sessions for the Queen’s Jubilee weekend though!

What are you looking at?

Considering that there are 54 people on board the ship, we throw away relatively little food. Meals are one of the daily highlights so people tend to eat everything they’re given anyway, and the kitchen will recycle any other leftovers into new meals for a few days as well so very little is actually wasted. So it’s pretty incredible that we’re currently being followed by an entourage of about 200-300 gulls, fulmars, gannets and skuas, which are apparently getting enough food to make it worth their while to tag along with us. I’ve no idea how much these birds need to eat, but I would have thought a fishing boat would have made a better target for discards and a free meal than us. Still, it means that feeding time for us is quickly followed by feeding time for the birds which inevitably means a few scuffles between the birds and some good photo opportunities for me!

We're being followed by a LOT of birds

This must be worthy of a caption competition!

Fulmars racing for some scraps

Two gulls scuffling over some leftovers

A (far away) skua intercepting a gannet mid-dive.

 I saw my first shearwater of the trip today too, which is nice since it means they’re definitely out there somewhere! I’m still trying to get a good photograph of one, but they’ve been making themselves scarce this trip which is a bit unusual considering they’re usually a fairly common sight. Still, I’ll keep an eye out for them and hopefully they’ll come back over the next few days before we leave.