Thursday, 15 September 2011

Bridges of Ross 15th Sept 2011

Time: 07:00-09:00 & 16:45-18:30
Weather: F1-2 SE, clear, dry & bright in the morning. F4 S-SE, overcast, calm with good visibility later on.
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Noel Keogh, Tomas Kjelsson, Rolf Sj√∂berg & Keith Bennett.

Balearic Shearwater: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 16
Storm Petrel: 6
Great Skua (Bonxie): 5
Pomarine Skua: 1
Arctic Skua: 10
Long-tailed Skua: 1 adult
Sabine's Gull: 48 (13 juvs)
Little Gull: 1 juv/1st-w
Sandwich Tern: 14
Arctic Tern: c.140
Common Scoter: 16
Light-bellied Brent Goose: 10
Red-throated Diver: 4
Black Guillemot: 1
Whimbrel: 5
Golden Plover: 1

Common Dolphin: c.30

Again a day of feeding & milling as opposed to true passage. Most of the Sabine's Gulls & Arctic Terns moved through within the first hour suggesting they had roosted somewhere nearby. As such it appeared that no new birds were present offshore so we decided to hit the headland and look for migrants. Myself & Noel went up to The Fodry where Keith, Tomas & Rolf had seen 7 Buff-breasted Sandpipers yesterday (an increase on the flock of 5 from Friday). We got there to find a couple of Peregrines causing havoc in the area, with 12 Lapland Buntings & 13 Black-tailed Godwits flying around looking worried! After meeting Jeff Copner, who was also looking for the Buff-B's, we strolled over to a cattle field where they had been seen previously. Whilst doing my best to string two Golden Plovers there into something more exciting, a flock of waders flew in over the road & settled in front of us...14 Buff-breasted Sandpipers accompanied by 2 Dunlin...the flock had doubled overnight! We watched the Buff-B's feeding for some time but they were quite flighty & moved around the field a fair bit. After taking to the air once more & settling down again, we soon realised that there was in fact 15 juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpipers in front of us. Where had the newbie come from? Had it just arrived fresh in also? That's Loop Head for you I guess...magic stuff. I've been informed that this total equals the previous record set for the largest flock seen in Europe, that of 15 seen on Scilly in 1974! We'll be up there again tomorrow to see if any more decide to drop in overnight however ;)

Jeff was kind enough to send on a pic of all 15 Buff-B's plus the 2 Dunlin in flight as well as a cracking pic of one on the deck. For more, check out his blog, "A Life At The Shoreline".

Buff-breasted Sandpipers (Jeff Copner)

John Murphy also sent on some great seabird pics which he took from 'The Slab' at BoR yesterday, including what are probably the best shots of Wilson's Petrel ever taken from land in the West Pal?

Wilson's Petrel x2, adult Sabine's Gull, juvenile Sabine's Gull & a Great Skua (John Murphy)

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