I’ve often wondered whether the Lizard competes with Porthgwarra on a seawatch. I've tried to test the theory a few times, albeit never for much longer than a couple of hours. The few times I’ve tried it, I’ve generally found that, although counts are similar, Porthgwarra fairs slightly better. I think observer coverage may play a part though. After trial and error, consensus seems to be that the best place to seawatch from is sitting just below the coastwatch station at Bass Point. Most seabirds seem take a flight path across the bay from Black Head, passing really close-in at Bass Point, but then continuing in the same direction and thus passing further out when flying past the most southerly point. Oddly, the best viewing is thus looking north across the bay and on the whole, I think birds pass closer than they do at Porthgwarra. This poses a bit of a problem if you’re on your own. You can look out with a scope to catch the more distant stuff, but as the viewpoint is quite high up, a fair amount flies under your field of view. However, in really poor visibility this can be an advantage as you can just use bins and still see most stuff.
I wonder whether this is why I faired rather better than Porthgwarra this afternoon? Visibility was dire, at least for the first couple of hours. Their haul for the day (0600 to 1200 and 1400 to 1930) was 22 Balearics, 3 Sooty Shearwaters and 4 Bonxies. My score in roughly half that time (13:00-19:00) was 16 Balearics, 7 Sooties, 2 Bonxies, 2 Puffins, 5 Stormies and a Cory’s. OK the Cory’s might well have past them while they were on lunch break and the stormies were feeding offshore around a pod of Dolphins and I may have double counted, but on balance, it suggest that the Lizard can outscore West Penwith in the right conditions. Maybe the fact that stuff passes closer is advantageous? Certainly, the guys down there are a lot sharper than me, so if observer skill has anything to do with it, they win hands down.
Anyway ,the real purpose of this post is really just to convince myself that the mythical beast, the Fea’s Petrel is possible off the Lizard and I should put in more effort rather than sacking it off after a couple of hours.