Saturday, 3 September 2011

Fea's-type Petrel @ Bridges of Ross 3rd Sept 2011

Time: 07:10-18:25
Weather: F3 W-NW with drizzle in the morning, F4 W-SW, dry, warm & with good visibility in the afternoon.
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, John Dempsey, Mike Stocker, Neill Hunt, Barry McCarthy & John N. Murphy.

Fea's-type Petrel: 1 west @ 15:10 (Niall T. Keogh)
Great Shearwater: 18
Balearic Shearwater: 3
Sooty Shearwater: c.1,000
Manx Shearwater: c.7,000
Blue Fulmar: 1 intermediate
Leach's Petrel: 14
Storm Petrel: 11
Great Skua (Bonxie): 7
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale phase 2nd cal-year
Arctic Skua: 20
Sabine's Gull: 7 adults
Black Tern: 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern: 2
Arctic Tern: 7
Puffin: 17
Common Scoter: 19
Whimbrel: 33

A nice busy mornings passage, with good numbers of Manxies & a constant stream of Sooties going by at mid-far range while a stunning flock of 4 adult Sab's Gulls close in & the first Leach's Petrels of the season provided further interest. Numbers of seabirds passing died a death by lunchtime however, with hardly a bird to be seen for about two hours until 3pm when a small number of Manxies & Sooties started up again. While counting shears passing along the far line of migration (about 3/4 way out) I noticed an odd looking bird in amongst the Manx low down, coming head on with black underwings, white underparts & what appeared to be a dark cap. A pale phase Arctic Skua perhaps? Whacked up the zoom from 20x to 40x, and the bird banked up high, belly first right through my field of view...FEA'S!!! Between the ensuing hand shake, blurred vision & shouting of directions I managed to lose the bird after seeing just 4 times (three views of the underparts & one of the upperparts). It seemed to be steaming along a fairly direct route though, so a well placed yacht out on the horizon line along it's trajectory became the chosen spot to lock on to for those who had yet to see it. Thankfully the bird banked right up in that exact area, which caused a loud cheer & some 'mild' swearing to erupt from all the other observers present as soon as they had seen those two shiny black underwings!

Classic Bridges of Ross!

Post-Fea's celebrations in The Lighthouse Inn, Kilbaha!
Pride & place on the mantelpiece in the pub! 

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes I was there myself that night boys, only I wasn't too sure who ye were, spoke to John Sunday morning, great place, all the best with the "work".
    Joe Ormonde.