The Swinhoes Storm Petrel season is upon us and after reading an email about a pelagic last weekend in Singaporean waters that resulted in a total of 470 birds being seen I was left feeling rather deflated but what unfolded next is something that I guess was just meant to happen.
After an excellent day out in the estuary and covering the high tide wader roost at Mersing I decided to return back home to the island just prior to dusk. The journey was as uneventful as ever up until 18:43 when I was totally stunned to watching a Swinhoes Storm Petrel flying passed just in front of the boat. My bins were packed away in my bag due to the usual spray when using the small boats and so a frantic rummage through the bag finally found them although by this time the bird was long gone, however I couldn't believe my double luck when a second bird flew passed at 18:51 and this time watched well through the bins.
Both birds were flying strongly south and were not deviating. I am totally stunned to have seen these 2 birds on the west side of the islands as all other interesting seabird sightings (including Swinhoes and Bulwers Petrels) I have had in these waters has always been to the west of the islands to Tioman Island and beyond. Not a bad way to end a week in Australia and returning home to Malaysia. I am now stuck at work until early next week when I will try to get out in the surrounding waters.