Seawatch SW: 2008 survey is under way!


The SeaWatch SW project is gearing up for another exciting year of survey work, and the following update provides details on volunteer observer opportunities (both on land and at sea) and progress of the 2007 annual report. Full details can also be found on the SeaWatch SW website at http://www.seawatch-sw.org.

Send us your UK Balearic Shearwater sightings now!

One of the main aims of SeaWatch SW is to provide a central point for Balearic Shearwater recording in UK waters; this will allow us to put project results into a national context. Initial 2007 results are already feeding into ongoing conservation efforts led by RSPB and Birdlife International. We are grateful to all observers who provided us with 2007 records, and urge anyone who sees a Balearic Shearwater in the UK in 2008 to contact the project co-ordinator with details of the sighting, and/or submit their record to BirdGuides.

SeaWatch SW gears up for 2008 survey

Due to the continuing support of our sponsors, SeaWatch SW will continue to run a full programme in 2008. As well as co-ordinating the recording of Balearic Shearwaters in UK waters throughout the year, we will again be surveying all marine wildlife offshore of the Gwennap Head watchpoint (near Land's End in Cornwall) from 15th July to 15th October. A call for core seabird observers is below, and a further call for volunteer marine wildlife observers will be made in late February.

Core seabird observers required

We still have a small number of core seabird observer slots available for experienced seawatchers who want to get involved in the project survey during 2008. In return for recording all seabirds seen during a full day of observation, core seabird observers are provided with free B&B accommodation a short walk from the Gwennap Head watchpoint. The slots remaining to be filled run from 27th August-13th September and 21st-27th September. Further details and a provisional schedule can be found on the project website, which is still being updated with new information for 2008.

SeaWatch SW 2007 annual report is nearing completion

Although slightly later than planned, the SeaWatch SW annual report for 2007 is nearing completion. The data entry for all seabird species has been completed, together with all records of migrant land birds and insects. A team of Masters project students based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, have been working through the Basking Shark data and producing some interesting results. Once the marine mammal data are entered, and the reports come in from the sister sites, the final report will be produced and uploaded in late February or early March. Watch this space!

Experienced seabird observer required for unique pelagic trip

An opportunity has arisen for an experienced seabird observer, preferably with additional knowledge of cetacean identification, to participate as a marine wildlife observer during a scientific expedition to the northeast Atlantic this autumn. From 28th August to 2nd October the flagship of the UK research fleet, RRS James Cook, will be working offshore between the north Biscay margin and the Canary Islands as part of a geological research cruise. Interested individuals with the necessary experience and availability, and who would be comfortable operating offshore for several weeks, should visit the project website for further details.

Written by: Dr Russell B Wynn, SeaWatch SW co-ordinator