Birder Special Pelagics

The August Birder Special Pelagic schedule is now an established fixture in the British birding calendar. Not long ago Wilson’s Storm-petrel was considered a Holy Grail species for British birders; we discovered that it is a scarce but regular visitor to Scillonian waters. Cory’s and Great Shearwaters can be found at sea off Scilly, and observed and photographed at very close range. Now, more birders than ever visit Scilly in August to witness these and other fabulous seabirds and marine wildlife.

Scilly Pelagics was formally launched in 2006 to cater for the growing interest in seabirds and ocean wildlife found in Scillonian waters. The concept of Scilly Pelagics is a long weekend – Friday to Monday inclusive – with daily cruises to maximise the chances of seeing and photographing as many specialities as possible. We recommend (if possible) that participants join a full-weekend of pelagic trips.

The weekend begins with a 5-hour trip on Friday evening. We often use this first evening trip to have a shot at Wilson’s Storm-petrel and to enjoy European Storm-petrels as they return to their colonies in the islands. The trips can attract other seabirds, including the large shearwaters. The Saturday trip runs from 9am to about 4pm. Daytime trips give the opportunity to explore Scillonian waters widely, visiting reefs, looking for trawlers that attract seabirds, and tracking down dolphin or tuna feeding frenzies that act as a magnet to nearby seabirds. We may drift for Wilson’s Storm-petrel. The Sunday trip (8am - 3pm, returning in time for the Scillionian III to Penzance) is shaped by the results of the Friday and Saturday pelagic trips, targeting species we haven't seen or wish to see again. We round off with a Monday evening trip 5pm.

The Scilly Isles are found 29 miles west of Land’s End, England, in the Southwestern Approaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, we are at sea shortly after departing St Mary’s Quay and our pelagic trips are soon amongst seabirds and other ocean wildlife. Our many years of experience ensure that we visit the best places for seabirding on any particular day. Undersea features are found near Scilly at Pol Bank three miles southwest of Bishop Rock and at Seven Stones Reef nine miles northeast of St Martin’s. Reefs generate an upwelling that brings nutrients and food items to the surface, which benefits seabirds and other sea creatures. Pol Bank and Seven Stones reefs are magnets for seabirds and prime locations for our pelagic trips. In addition, we search out trawlers, and dolphin and tuna feeding frenzies, and when found spend time investigating and observing the seabirds and other wildlife that they draw in.

July/August 2021 schedule

Weekend 1

Friday 30th July                 5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Saturday 31st July              9 am to 4 pm (£80)

Sunday 1st August               8 am to 3 pm (£80)

Monday 2nd August              5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Weekend 2

Friday 6th, Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th: Oriole Birding private weekend charter
(contact Oriole Birding directly www.oriolebirding.com)

Monday 9th August               5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Weekend 3

Friday 13th August                 5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Saturday 14th August              9 am to 4 pm (£80)

Sunday 15th August                8 am to 3 pm (£80)

Monday 16th August              5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Weekend 4

Friday 20th August                5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Saturday 21st August              9 am to 4 pm (£80)

Sunday 22nd August                8 am to 3 pm (£80)

Monday 23rd August              5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Weekend 5

Friday 27th August                 5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Saturday 28th August              9 am to 4 pm (£80)

Sunday 29th August                8 am to 3 pm (£80)

Monday 30th August              5 pm to 10 pm (£40)

Always arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

History of Wilson's Storm-petrel off Britain

The following article provides a detailed insight in to how this once 'legendary mega' tubenose became an achievable target in British waters.

Preparing for your pelagic

Correct preparation for your time in Scilly and at sea will ensure that you get the absolute most out of your Scilly Pelagic experience. The link below will take you to a printable document which covers all you need to know for your time with us, including clothing and optics recommendations, and Isles of Scilly travel and accommodation information.

Scilly Pelagics Team

Paul Whittaker

Shark researcher

Bob Flood

Leader & 
Scilly Pelagics Founder

Joe Pender

MV Sapphire Skipper & Scilly Pelagics Founder

John Higginson

Spotter

Jim Askins

Spotter

Scott Reid

Lucy McRobert

Spotter

Comms & PR

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