Friday, 29 August 2008

A North Bishop and a Great White Bird... 29/08/2008

Today conditions were much the same as yesterday with little or no swell so I decided to paddle straight out from Porthsele heading towards North Bishop and see how things went.

Approaching North Bishop

With the tide still ebbing and flowing southwards, if anything I would be taken down to Ramsey Island rather than round St David's Head. The wind increased a little the further I paddled out but not enough to make much difference to my paddling or to the sea conditions.

Head and chest of 'The Bishop' lying down

Legs of 'The Bishop'

As can be seen from my route map, the tide, even though not that apparent at the time, did take me away from North Bishop, which by the time I made up my mind to head for North Bishop I had been taken quite a way off course and had to really struggle to get as near to the group of rocks as I did.

Carreg Rhoson viewed from North Bishop

Ramsey Island viewed from North Bishop

I decided to give in to the tide and let it carry me down towards Carreg Rhoson. Still it was a good learning exercise and I got pretty close and as I hadn't planned to go there it wasn't too bad.

South Bishop viewed from Carreg Rhoson

Arch through Carreg Rhoson

Passing some feeding porpoises on the way and as usual soon as I got my camera out they went AWOL.

Progress was rapid down to Carreg Rhoson where whilst stopping for a well deserved rest I spotted a white bird fly onto the most easterly rock of the Carreg Rhoson group. Click on the photo's below and above for larger image.

I paddled closer towards the rock with camera at the ready where, getting nearer, I realised it was a Shag or Cormorant. On consultation later with John and Marion of the Pembrokeshire Bird Group it was decided it was a Leucistic Shag. Apparently leucism is a condition caused by reduced pigmentation in animals, unlike albinism it is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment not just melanin.

It caused a bit of interest amongst the boat trips and the local bird watching fraternity and hopefully he/she manages to survive okay though when I saw it, it seemed to be coping well and mixing fine with the other birds.

North Bishop as seen from the North end of Ramsey Island

It was now back across to Ramsey, I was thinking of continuing southward but on reaching the island the tide had changed and was already flowing pretty strongly northward so I decided to go with the flow and paddle around the north of the island, back across a flat calm Ramsey Sound and back to Porthsele.

This was a great paddle covering a distance of 9 nautical miles (nearly 10.5 m or 16.5 km) almost making it to North Bishop was great as I hadn't planned to go there with the highlight of the trip was seeing the white shag. Once again thanks to John and Marion for all their help and information.

No comments: