Day 12 of Life Beneath the Keel

On Sunday 13 September, at 1800 BST, The Island Trust is live streamingLife Beneath the Keel’ from Plymouth Yacht Haven as part of the Ocean Institute’s virtual Maritime Festival. This is the twelfth in a series of blogs about the marine life we hope to discover then.

Day 12:  11 September 2020 | Birds

You are likely to see more birds while out sailing, than in the marina, but you will see some.

Gulls are not universally popular in marinas. The mussels on the submerged part of the pontoon are easy pickings, and the pontoon deck is ideal for the gulls to drop them there from a height to break the shells, and then eat them without them rolling away, or being disturbed by predators. You’ve got to hand it to them though, they are good at spotting and taking advantage of any opportunity (image 1).

Less of a nuisance (although when they poo, they poo, but they seem to prefer to squirt it into the sea) are Cormorants and Shags. They can often be seen hunting in the vicinity of marinas. Keep watching and wait for them to surface, and you might be surprised at the size of fish they can catch and swallow (images 2 and 3).

Perhaps because they are so big, and have such a distinctive wing noise, when they are about, you can’t miss swans. Look out for your own Sibelius 5th symphony moment (image 4).

John Hepburn, Ocean Discoverability Project Manager
11 September 2020