I must have replaced Russell a couple of hours after the Sooty Shearwater flew by! Nevertheless I enjoyed the most fantastic couple of hours by the life-boat station. Just as the Manx Shearwaters did for Russell, the entire flock joined a feeding frenzy of gulls almost at the water's edge and giving several photo opportunities.
This happened at 10.30 and again at 11.30am. Visitors told me that there had been a huge number of birds off Borth yesterday and for the entire day.
While the Manxies were resting I did a fairly accurate count of 3,500. Only 4 Gannets were to be seen but Sandwich Terns numbered 160.
The numbers of Manxies this September have been quite exceptional. Large gatherings at Borth, including the impressive 50,000 on 16th August 2010, have always been between mid-July and mid-August.
According to Ceredigion Bird Reports, the now annual five-figure counts began as recently as 2010. Previously there were only 3 such counts, in the July of 2007, 2006 and 1996.
Prior to 2005 Reports showed far fewer sightings and of generally lowish numbers, probably not just a reflection of possible lower observer coverage.
Borth is now probably the best place on mainland Britain for seeing impressive numbers of Manx Shearwaters.