Manx Shearwater in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...

Manx Shearwater in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...

The manx shearwater is another one of those birds that do not come ashore in Dorset but can be included in the Dorset list as they can be frequently be seen by anyone with a foot in Dorset! Manx shearwater nest on various islands off of the west coast of Britain but spend much of their life as an ocean wanderer, usually in small flocks. They travel great distances and they are not an uncommon sight along the English Channel, often in spring as they start to return to their favoured nesting location. 
There are reports of manx shearwater off of the Dorset coast for much of the spring, summer and autumn with reports starting in week 9 at the beginning of March and continuing through until week 36 at the end of October. After that they are seen just occasionally, often when bad weather encourages them closer to land to seek some shelter. April and May are the best times to see them and this coincides with their return to shore to nest.
Any coastal vantage point from Mudeford Quay in the east to Lyme Regis in the west may bring views of manx shearwater but Portland Bill is by far the best place and is where they are seen most often but then the Observatory there keep a close watch on what passes them by off shore.
You may need a long, patient sea watch from Portland Bill in spring if you are to have any chance of adding manx shearwater to your Dorset list. 

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