Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sea, The Sea

Winter is finally upon us here in SW Western Australia, and all right-minded birders turn their thoughts to the arrival of hordes of petrels and albatross from more southerly climes. So it was on Friday that I drove down to Point Peron to indulge in a little seawatching. A cold front was passing over and the winds were forecast to be in the region of 20-25 knots.

For those people who don’t know, seawatching is just that - spending hours just staring at the waves, imagining what fantastic species might fly past (but never do!). Sean Dooley in his book “Anoraks to Zitting Cisticola” defines seawatching as “trekking out to an exposed spot on the coast… and sitting for hours as you scan the oceans for any birds that fly past; the worse the weather the better, as deep ocean species are more likely to be blown towards the shore”.

So what did I see on my seawatch?  First I have to explain to you that the south-western Indian Ocean must surely be the worst seawatching spot there is (if you know better, then please tell me, not that I’ll believe you).  This is made worse because just around the corner (literally) is the Southern Ocean, which has albatross and petrels galore. But given that it’s a five hour drive to get down there, that is not a viable option, so I’m stuck with Perth.

Those were the days.........