All in a mornings work

This is an images from one beautiful morning last week. I was up well before sunrise and when I looked out of the window it was the perfect day for getting out in my boat. There was no wind and the the river was like a mirror so 15 minutes later I was sliding down river towards the sea. The sea was beautiful with a gentle oily swell so I turned the bow west and headed to Gribbin Head. Twenty minutes later I was approaching Cannis Rock which stood high and dry in the low tide. A big bunch of Shags were resting on Cannis so I came in closer and then killed the motor and drifted down on the tide towards them. Cannis in most weathers is a place that I would steer clear of in my little boat as it is usually wild and dangerous. My camera was cradle on my lap with the 500 mm lens on, as I passed very close to the rock the Shags looked a little concerned but let me drift past without flying away. I like this shot because the Shags are shining in the early morning sun and Gribbin Head forms a beautiful background. I thought of calling this image “Eight Shags In The Morning” but finally settled on “Cannis Rock At Low Tide”. It will soon be up in the gallery wall.

My local Peregrine Falcons have now got chicks. I am not sure how many yet but two days ago I was watching the falcon sitting tight on the nest when I noticed a small white ball of fluff appear from under her left wing, take a look around and then disappear again. The tiercel was hunting from the pairs favourite hunting perch, an Ivy covered rock on the shoulder of the headland. That is why I call then The Ivy Rock pair. They love to sit on this commanding perch which gives them a view east and west along the coast watching for potential prey. I was watching him when he suddenly took of and headed out over the sea with a real sense of purpose. His wings were pumping as he climbed but then he tipped over and put in a stoop at a Swallow which was coming in from the sea. The migrant swallow had probably been flying for hours over open water, and now when so close to land he was under attack from a hungry Peregrine with chicks to feed. The Swallow dodged once but the falcon threw up, turned and stooped again. This time the tired Swallow twisted down out of this way but ditched into the sea in its desperation bid to escape. The teircel simply turned and then dropping his legs plucked the poor Swallow from the waters surface and carried it up to the Ivy rock. He bent forward and killed his prey with a nip to the neck, within seconds dark Swallow feathers were drifting down the face of the cliff. It was probably his breakfast as he quickly ate the Swallow himself not bothering to take it into the nest for the newly hatched chicks.

The speed and agility of Peregrines is truly amazing and although I have seen many hunts over the years it never fails to take my breath away. I look forward to watching The Ivy Rock Pair through this season as they attempt to raise there chicks.

Finbar the Fowey Dolphin has been around in the river a lot over the last few weeks. He was seen with another Dolphin last week which was encouraging as he often seems to be lonely. I caught up with him in the boat a few days ago and took this picture.

Along the right side of his back are some pretty impressive tooth rakes inflicted on him by another Dolphin. Sometimes these can be during play and sexual activity but sometimes they can be from aggressive behavior. I don’t know which it was this time all I know is that they are new and they look pretty deep. We had a great game a couple weeks ago when he ambushed me as I was coming back into the river on morning. Suddenly he appeared next to me and began to jump out of the water. I took that as an invitation to play and speed up. He was right next to me as I did a couple of high speed turns and then cut under the boat and came up on my bow. Then he pushed my bow sharply to the right by making a big bow wave himself. I slowed down thinking me might want to stop but he began a series of jumps well out in front of me which couldn’t say any plainer “come on, don’t stop now”. So I picked up gunned the motor again and he joined came alongside again. After a couple on minutes of play he suddenly jumped high right next to me and then soaked me and Bella as he landed. I’m sure it was intentional as Dolphins seem too have a great sense of humour. Bella got very scared by this and shot out of the bow and back to me. That unbalanced the boat so much that I had to stop the game and head slowly home. Finbar left me and headed over to another boat to see if he could have some fun there. What a privilege to play with a wild Dolphin. 

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