Sunday, 18 September 2011

Leatherback Turtle and Risso's from Adrian Rogers!

Friday night Saturday Morning...
I had just gone home...
Good Evening Cliff ,

Did end up getting a few birds at Strumble earlier  ( an Ad Long Tailed , yippeeee! ) , but the 2 or posssibly 3 Risso's that went through beyond the tide race at exactly 16.00 started off my enjoyable hour & a half.
and then...Although we had a good morning with seabirds this morning , they were eclipsed at 12.30 by a HUGE LEATHERBACK TURTLE just beyond the first buoy so at a distance of no more than 200 yards. It was picked up by two visiting birders , on their first visit i think ( i bet they'll come back ! ) & myself Richard Stonier & John Faithfull from Sussex all got views before it sunk away .

Recent press statements by the Marine Conservation Society in which Welsh waters were described as "Turtle Heaven" and our seas  full of jellyfish are an exaggeration, in fact most observers who spend a lot of time looking at our sea's including myself and Adrian think jellyfish numbers have decreased in recent years in Pembrokeshire waters. As such this is a pretty significant sighting.
Between us and the other regular Strumblers who have amassed tens of thousands of hours watching from this prolific headland (in terms of marine megafauna sightings) over the past thirty odd years, I can only recall five sightings of Leatherbacks. I have only ever seen one live one and the long dead remains of two others washed ashore. 
With something like twenty thousand hours or so observing the southern Irish/Celtic Sea and Bristol Channel from land on off various boats /ships, it would be my considered opinion that they are extremely rare. Well done Strumblers!