Distant sight of seabirds
It has been a funny old summer, with plenty of windy weather interspersed with the odd sunny day but nothing too hot. On the hot calmer days off Dungeness, the mackerel and whitebait appear and they are followed close inshore by the porpoises and the numerous seabirds. One seabird which can be seen off the Kent coast in the late summer and autumn is the balearic shearwater. This is a species similar to manx shearwater which breed around the west and north coast of Britain. The manx shearwater has black wings and white underneath and the wing beats are very stiff. It flies with a flap, flap, glide or soars high up and down through the troughs of the waves. The balearic shearwater has a smoky brown colour on the underside and above, lacking the contrast of the manx shearwater. Manx shearwaters nest in rabbit burrows on islands around the British Isles, while the balearic shearwater nests in rock crevices on rocky islets in the western Mediterranean. They don’t dive for their food, but feed off the surface of the water and are attracted to fish boils and fishing boats in the Channel. Through September a small number of birds has been seen off Dungeness, but they tend to be distant and flying as fast as they can out to the west.