Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November Seatrack Update

A run of Atlantic weather systems moving through over the past two weeks produced some nice tallies for the time of year with late Balearic, Sooty & Great Shearwaters noted along with all four species of skuas & a few Grey Phalaropes. A flock of up to 450 Little Gulls off the Murrough coastline in Co. Wicklow on 22nd/23rd October was a nice find, but to be expected in the right weather conditions at this time of year. 

Little Gull (Dick Coombes)
The final Seatrack survey of the 2011 season takes place this weekend 5th/6th November starting at 08:30am. Whilst the forecast for the weekend seems rather unfavorable for any 'decent' seawatching, early Novemeber can often throw up a few surprises, with Little Auk certainly topping the seasonal wish list. Observers in the south-west should still be on the look out for our target species, Balearic Shearwater, which can often be found here well into the winter.

If you're interested in undertaking a Seatrack survey then e-mail Niall Keogh at

Little Auk, coming to a bathtub near you! (Declan Murphy)

Location: Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal
Date: 19/10/2011
Time: 08:00-11:05
Weather: F3 N-NW, showers & poor-mod visibility.
Observer(s): Chris Ingram

Great Skua (Bonxie): 23 W
Pomarine Skua: 7 W
Arctic Skua: 5 W
Skua sp: 6 W
Sabine's Gull: 12 W
Arctic Tern: 1 W
Red-throated Diver: 7 W
Great Northern Diver: 11 W & 1 E
Diver sp: 2 W & 1 E
Gannet: 164 W & 5 E
Kittiwake: 1431 W & 4 E
Guillemot: 1 W
Auk sp: 81 W & 16 E
Red-breasted Merganser: 36 W
Barnacle Goose: 54 W & 32 E

Location: Dursey Island, Co. Cork
Date: 17/10/2011
Time: 08:00-10:00
Weather: F6-7 W-SW, dry with excellent visibility
Observer(s): Derek A. Scott

Manx Shearwater: 2 N
Sooty Shearwater: 3 N
Pomarine Skua: 1 N
Arctic Skua: 3 N
Skua sp: 1 M (Arctic/Pomarine sat on the sea)
Fulmar: 190 N
Kittiwake: 105 N
Auk sp: 231 N

Harbour Porpoise: 6 M

"Undertaken from the comfort of our house, 2.2 km from the extreme south-western tip of the island. Our house is situated about 450 feet above sea-level and faces due south, so that we have a commanding view of the sea between Mizen Head and the tip of Dursey. Sea-watching can be quite good from the door of our house when there is a strong wind from the north-west or west and most birds are tracking WNW into the wind on a course from Mizen Head to Dursey Tip. A good telescope is, however, essential. The disadvantage is that we seldom see anything that is heading south-west past the tip from the north side of the island, as this is much too far away."

Location: Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal
Date: 15/10/2011
Time: 08:25-11:35
Weather: F2-4 SW, light-nil rain in poor-good visibility
Observer(s): Ralph Sheppard & Chris Ingram

Manx Shearwater: 1 W
Sooty Shearwater: 2 W
Storm Petrel: 1 W
Great Skua (Bonxie): 1 W & 1 E
Arctic Skua: 3 W
Skua sp: 2 E & 1 M
'Commic' Tern: 1 W
Common Scoter: 8 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Great Northern Diver: 13 W & 4 E
Diver sp: 1 W & 1 E
Fulmar: 1 W
Gannet: 535 W & 71 E
Kittiwake: 28 W & 4 E
Guillemot: 26 W
Razorbill: 31 W
Auk sp: 107 W
Black Guillemot: 1 W
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 E

Basking Shark: 1 W

Location: Brownstown Head, Co. Waterford
Date: 15/10/2011
Time: 08:55-12:00
Weather: 5-6 SW, vis moderate, some drizzle
Observer(s): Paul Walsh & Jonathon Bulfin

Great Skua (Bonxie): 2 E
Arctic Skua: 1 E & 1 W
Fulmar: 2 W
Gannet: 20 E, 29 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Diver sp: 1 W
Wigeon: 13 W
Shelduck: 3 W
Kittiwake: 17 E & 159 W
Sandwich Tern: 1 W
Auk sp: 27 E & 34 W

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