Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Mid October Seatrack Update

The last Seatrack Target Weekend (1st/2nd Oct) was fairly quiet to say the least with light winds or heavy sea mist hampering seawatch efforts at most sites. The fact that quite a few scarce passerines were picked up at the seawatch sites says it all! 

Last weekend saw some good strong W-NW winds however, resulting in some very nice tallies along the West coast highlighted by plenty of auks, Bonxies, Pomarine Skuas & a smattering of Long-tailed Skuas. Numbers of shearwaters overall dropped off as expected, yet tallies of Manxies & Sooties made it into triple figures at some sites. The first wave of divers, mergansers, diving duck & Barnacle Geese was also picked up on, particularly in the North & North West.

The next Seatrack survey takes places this weekend 15th/16th Oct starting at 08:50. Again the forecast looks settled but the West may get some ok winds on the Sunday. This will be the penultimate survey of the 2011 season. Saying that, quite a few Balearic Shearwaters can often be recorded during this time, especially along the south coast, so do keep an eye out. 

If you're interested in taking part in a Seatrack survey then e-mail Niall Keogh at seatrack@birdwatchireland.ie

Barnacle Goose (Dick Coombes)
Location: Fanad Head, Co. Donegal
Date: 09/10/2011
Time: 12:10-14:40
Weather: F3 W-NW, good visibility with no precipitation
Observer(s): Chris Ingram

Great Skua (Bonxie): 3 W
Pomarine Skua: 8 W
Arctic Skua: 1 W
Arctic Tern: 2 W
Common Scoter: 4 W
Red-throated Diver: 3 W
Great Northern Diver: 1 W
Diver sp: 2 E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 W
Gannet: 80 milling offshore
Kittiwake: 33 W
Guillemot: 33 W
Razorbill: 52 W
Auk sp: 87 W
Merlin: 1 
Snow Bunting: 10

Location: Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal
Date: 07/10/2011
Time: 08:15-13:50
Weather: F6 NW, good visibility with no precipitation
Observer(s): Ralph Sheppard, Chris Ingram & Gareth Doherty

Sooty Shearwater: 7 W
Manx Shearwater: 57 W
Leach's Petrel: 7 W
Grey Phalarope: 4 W
Great Skua (Bonxie): 156 W
Pomarine Skua: 77 W
Arctic Skua: 46 W
Skua sp: 17 W
Long-tailed Skua: 7 W
Sabine's Gull: 21 W
Common Tern: 4 W
Arctic Tern: 76 W
Eider: 10 W
Red-throated Diver: 7 W & 2 E
Great Northern Diver: 31 W & 4 E
Diver sp: 1 W & 5 E
Fulmar: 1 W
Gannet: 383 W & 48 E
Kittiwake: 646 W
Guillemot: 6 W
Razorbill: 18 W
Auk sp: 675 W
Barnacle Goose: 216 W
Brent Goose: 15 E
Teal: 4 W
Tufted Duck: 1 W
Red-breasted Merganser: 6 W
Snow Bunting: 3 W

Nice variety with good numbers of auks & skuas. Plenty of wildfowl & divers which is typical for this site at this time of year. 

Location: Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal
Date: 06/10/2011
Time: 18:00-19:00
Weather: F8/9 W-NW
Observer(s): Gareth Doherty

Sooty Shearwater: 8
Great Skua (Bonxie): 45
Pomarine Skua: 8
Arctic Skua: 38
Plus "countless" Manx Shearwaters & Gannets

Location: Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal
Date: 01/10/2011
Time: 08:05-11:15
Weather: F1-2 NE-N, excellent visibility with no precipitation.
Observer(s): Ralph Sheppard & Chris Ingram

Sooty Shearwater: 2 W
Manx Shearwater: 4 W
Great Skua (Bonxie): 4 W
Pomarine Skua: 1 W
Arctic Skua: 3 W
Sandwich Tern: 4 W
Arctic Tern: 1 E & 1 M
Common Scoter: 1 E
Red-throated Diver: 4 W & 2 E
Great Northern Diver: 6 W & 5 E
Diver sp: 3 W
Gannet: 366 W & 419 E
Kittiwake: 11 W & 3 E
Guillemot: 10 W
Razorbill: 78 W & 3 E
Auk sp: 254 W & 10 E
Black Guillemot: 2 W & 2 E

Bottlenose Dolphin: 10 W (incl. 2 large calves)

"Given the very settled weather, it could have been worse. The dolphins were amazing. Moving at speed just along the edge of the rocky shore, and surfing the only wave available, which even in these calm conditions is quite a substantial one running diagonally out from the shore at SW-NW, so we got a side view of the surfers in the green water."

Location: Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford
Date: 02/10/2011
Time: 08:30-10:00
Weather: F2-3 S, extremely poor visibility (<200m at times) due to heavy sea mist & drizzle.
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh

Balearic Shearwater: 1 M
Manx Shearwater: 2 M
Great Skua (Bonxie): 3 M
Sandwich Tern: 2 W
Black Tern: 6 M (1 adult & 5 juveniles)
'Commic' Tern: c.120 M (approx. 90% Common & 10% Roseates)
Gannet: c.40 M
Kittiwake: 6 E & 4 M
Guillemot: 4 E & 2 M
Razorbill: 28 E & 28 M
Auk sp: 13 E
Yellow Wagtail: A juv/1st-winter flew west under the seawatch site
Lapland Bunting: 1 seen in flight & heard calling overhead

"All the action happened within the first 30 minutes with the majority of the birds listed above present in a single milling feeding flock just 300m offshore which dissipated rather quickly. The heavy mist enclosed soon after & hardly a bird could be seen for the next hour, but terns could still be recorded by ear!!!"

Location: Dursey Island, Co. Cork
Date: 01/10/2011
Time: 08:00-11:00
Weather: F3 NE decreasing to F1 NE, good visibility with no precipitation.
Observer(s): Derek A. Scott

Sooty Shearwater: 1 S
Manx Shearwater: 3 S
Great Skua (Bonxie): 2 S & 1 N
Pomarine Skua: 2 S
Common Scoter: 4 N
Great Northern Diver: 2 N
Fulmar: 2 S & 1 N
Kittiwake: 13 S & 6 N
Auk sp: 233 S, 287 N & 30 M 

Minke Whale: 1 N
Common Dolphin: 40 N
Harbour Porpoise: 12 M

"Herewith the sea-watch from the north-west tip of Dursey Island (from ‘Tea Bag Ledge’) on 1 October 2011. A fine dry morning with a light north-easterly breeze - not ideal for sea-watching. The Fulmars have suddenly all gone (and are now worth counting again!), and most of the Manx Shearwaters are long gone."

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