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Seabird & Whale Trip Report 17th & 18th Sept

  • Mon 27th Sep, 2021

The 17th Sept was our biggest Minke Whale day of the year so far. Both trips were led by YCN guide Jono Leadley. The whale season has been late this year alongside the herring spawning and mackrel, so we were really pleased when we finally found increasing numbers of whales later in September. The rough weather in late August and early Sept prevented us from sailing so these two trips were even more exciting! 

Minke Whale 17-09-21 © Jono LeadleyMinke Whale 17-09-21 © Jono Leadley

One Minke Whale seen on the 17th had a large chunk broken off the top of its dorsal fin. A really curious shape. Looking through photos supplied by Robin Petch (Sea Watch Foundation Ambassador), I noticed one photo of a whale nicknamed 'Stubby' last seen on the 8th Sept 2011. Could this be Stubby on the 17th Sept 2021? Further research needed...

Is this Stubby last seen in 2011... © Jono Leadley 17-09-21Is this Stubby last seen in 2011... © Jono Leadley 17-09-21

Stubby photo taken from Whitby Whale trip on 8 Sept 2011 Stubby photo taken from Whitby Whale trip on 8 Sept 2011

Seabird migration was well underway on these trips with our first Red-throated Divers of the autumn, Sooty and Manx Shearwaters and a nice surprise with five Pale-bellied Brent Geese in the harbour. Sadly there were at least 50 dead razorbills and guillemots seen from the boat but many others looking in good health. Thankfully since this trip we have not seen anything like as many dead, and still many live auks. We are hoping the recent moratlity was short lived. 

Pale-bellied Brent Geese in Staithes Harbour © Jono LeadleyPale-bellied Brent Geese in Staithes Harbour © Jono Leadley

Big thanks to Sarah Burton who sent us some photos she took on the trip! and to YCN guide Jono Leadley for great guiding! See full trip list below. 

Atlantic Grey Seal © Sarah BurtonAtlantic Grey Seal © Sarah Burton

Northern Gannet juvenile © Sarah BurtonNorthern Gannet juvenile © Sarah Burton

Razorbill © Sarah BurtonRazorbill © Sarah Burton

Richard Baines

YCN Guide and Director

Trip Date 17/09/2021 18/09/2021
Mammals    
Grey Seal 1 5
Minke Whale 11 6
Bottlenose Dolphin    
Harbour Porpoise 1 5
Birds    
Pale-bellied Brent Goose 5 5
Wigeon 20  
Teal 10  
Shoveler   6
Pintail   1
Common Scoter 33 45
Red-throated Diver 5 5
Fulmar 10 15
Sooty Shearwater 1  
Manx Shearwater 1  
Gannet 25 30
Cormorant 10 5
Grey Heron 1  
Oystercatcher 3 2
Curlew 1 3
Arctic Skua 1  
Atlantic Puffin 2 2
Razorbill 100 100
Common Guillemot 25 30
Black-headed Gull 20 40
Common Gull   2
Herring Gull 50 50
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 5 10
Kittiwake 10 10
Sandwich Tern 3 7
House Martin 8 10
Sand Martin    
Swallow 4 12
Northern Wheatear 1  
Nuthatch 1  
Skylark   3
Meadow Pipit 25 8
Pied Wagtail   2
Jackdaw 10 10
Linnet 100 100
Other fauna    
Moon Jellyfish   1
Red Admiral   1
Lion's-mane Jellyfish 2 2
Painted Lady 1 2
Small Tortoiseshell 20 30
Large White 10 15