Friday, 31 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 31st August 2012

Time: 06:50-11:15 & 14:00-19:00
Weather: F3-4 SW, overcast, dry & mild throughout the day. Vis at a distance poor in the afternoon.
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Neal Warnock, Andy Clifton, Malcolm Goodman, Geoff Clewes, John Cooper, Dave Cooper, Chris Jones, Rob Innes, Des Higgins et al.

Sooty Shearwater: 35
Manx Shearwater: c.1,000
Fulmar: 700+
Storm Petrel: 10
Great Skua (Bonxie): 23
Pomarine Skua: 4 adults
Arctic Skua: 5
Sabine’s Gull: 1 adult & 2 juvs.
Kittiwake: 16 incl. 4  juvs.
Arctic Tern: 9
Puffin: 5
Black Guillemot: 1 adult

Light-bellied Brent Goose: 41 
Whimbrel: 3
Bar-tailed Godwit: 3
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 1 adult

Chough: 12
Peregrine: 1

Common Dolphin: c.8
Bottlenose Dolphin: 5+

Very little passage as such but nice quality. The 3 Sab's snook through distantly in the gloom early this morning whilst the Pom Skuas really stole the show. Awesome adults with full spoons! (makes a change from the subadults with half length spoons we've been seeing of late).

A colour ringed Bonxie flew right over our heads this evening. It'll be interesting to see where it originated from. Stay tuned for details!

Bonxie from The Bridges last week © Jände Nordblad

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Pec Sand but no Skimmer: Bridges of Ross 30th August 2012

Time: 06:50-09:00 & 12:15-19:00
Weather: F4-5 N, clear, sunny & dry (am). F3 NNW, sunny, hazy & dry (pm). Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Neal Warnock, Andy Clifton, Malcolm Goodman, Geoff Clewes, John Cooper, Dave Cooper, Chris Jones, Rob Innes, Des Higgins et al.

Sooty Shearwater: 9
Manx Shearwater: c.400
Fulmar: c.500
‘Blue’ Fulmar: 1 intermediate
Storm Petrel: 1
Common Scoter: 2 females
Red-throated Diver: 1 summer plumage
Great Skua (Bonxie): 11
Arctic Skua: 6
Kittiwake: 82 incl. 15 juvs.
Arctic Tern: 2
Sandwich Tern: 3

Light-bellied Brent Goose: 42 
Wigeon: 4
Teal: c.30
Whimbrel: 2
Common Gull: 1 adult & 3 juvs.

Common Dolphin: 15+ feeding in the evening.

Northerly winds are a real migration killer at The Bridges so needless to say the passage today was dire. News of a Black Skimmer seen heading south past Annagh Head, Co. Mayo at 10am had us back out on the headland this afternoon in the vain hope of it making its way past us...which it didn’t! A shout out to the finder, Tom Cooney (Bull Island local patch birder) is most definitely in order. What an awesome record!

The evening here at Loop was livened up by the finding of a fresh juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper on the beach directly in front of The Lighthouse Inn at Kilbaha by Chris Jones & Rob Innes whilst they were enjoying a pint of Guinness & a nice bowl of seafood chowder. West coast birding in style! A cracking bird & hopefully a sign of more to come.

Juv. Pectoral Sandpiper © Chris Jones

Dunlin & Pectoral Sandpiper © Niall Keogh

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

North Westerlies return @ Bridges of Ross 29th August 2012

Time: 06:50-08:50 & 13:00-19:30
Weather: F4-6 SW, heavy showers & poor visibility (am). F4 W later F5-6 NW, sunny, some light showers, spray (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Neal Warnock, Andy Clifton, Malcolm Goodman, Geoff Clewes, John Cooper, Dave Cooper et al.

Great Shearwater: 2
Balearic Shearwater: 2
Sooty Shearwater: 107
Manx Shearwater: c.3,200
Fulmar: c.1,400
‘Blue’ Fulmar: 1 intermediate
Leach’s Petrel: 11
Storm Petrel: 17
Common Scoter: 1 male
Red-throated Diver: 1 summer plumage
Great Skua (Bonxie): 15
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale subadult
Arctic Skua: 18
Sabine's Gull: 11 (8 adults, a 2nd cal-year type & 2 juvs)
Little Gull: 1 juv./1st-winter
Kittiwake: 53 incl. 26 juvs.
Arctic Tern: 20
Sandwich Tern: 11
Puffin: 5
Razorbill/Guillemot: 750+

Light-bellied Brent Goose: 2 
Wigeon: 4
Teal: 3
Tufted Duck: 1
Whimbrel: 6
Redshank: 10

Common Dolphin: 3
Leatherback Turtle: 1 surfaced eight times @ 07:15am

The weather became so horrendous this morning that trying to see any birds was near impossible, and the fact that there were none out there to begin with called for an early breakfast! The forecast was for the winds to turn West then North West in the afternoon, the effect of which was apparent almost straight away at lunchtime with a decent Manxie stream interspersed by regular Sooties (today’s tally of which was the first triple figure count of the season). Leach’s, Sab’s & Great Shears were the highlight but only the Leach’s showed well (the Great Shears & Sab’s were typically distant). The constant passage of Fulmars, first sightings of ‘Blue’ Fulmar, Little Gull & Light-bellied Brent Goose, good numbers of Auks and several species of duck all hinted that Autumn proper is well and truly on it’s way.

It felt as if a Long-tailed Skua or something rarer was going to pass by at any stage this afternoon but still, the first real North West wind & associated passage of the season is not to be snuffed at! Great views of the Puffins today also.

Bridges of Ross seawatchers  © Niall Keogh
Bonxie overhead! © Niall Keogh
Pale phase Arctic Skua © Niall Keogh

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 28th August 2012

Time: 06:45-10:00 & 12:45-16:00
Weather: F3-4 W-SW, bright & dry with good visibility (am). F4 S-SW, sunny, dry & hazy (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Neal Warnock, Andy Clifton, Malcolm Goodman, Geoff Clewes, John Cooper, Dave Cooper & Allan Conlin.

Great Shearwater: 1 close @ 07:00am
Sooty Shearwater: 48
Manx Shearwater: c.1,500
Fulmar: c.600
Storm Petrel: 25
Common Scoter: 4 (3 males + 1 female)
Great Skua (Bonxie): 9
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale subadult
Arctic Skua: 10
Sabine's Gull: 1 2nd cal-year type
Kittiwake: 42 incl. 11 juvs.
Arctic Tern: 8
Puffin: 3

Black-headed Gull: 1
Dunlin: 3
Knot: 5
Black-tailed Godwit: 2
Whimbrel: 1

The first 30 seconds of this mornings seawatch produced 2 Sooties & a Stormy! Bit of a change compared to recent days. The following two hours saw some nice passage with most of the Manx & Fulmars going through highlighted by mega views of a Great Shear & Sab's Gull and a few nice skuas.

A mere 95 Manx were logged in 3 hours this afternoon so we decided to call it a day at 4pm!

Seatrack Update: 1st Sept Survey

This coming weekend sees the fourth Seatrack survey of the season taking place, with a start time of 07:35am. Please note that Saturday 1st Sept will be the priority day so as to complement other FAME surveys being conducted by our partners along the Western European seaboard, also on that date. If you would like to take part in this international seabird census then get in touch with Niall Keogh at for details.

The highlight of the previous August Seatrack survey weekend was undoubtedly the finding of not one, but two Fea's-type Petrels which were associating with a milling flock of Manx Shearwaters off Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford on Saturday 18th. Once considered a mythical species in Irish waters, it is now apparent that with a bit of luck, a small number of these enigmatic Gadfly petrels can be found regularly off our coast, almost always in the company of migrating or feeding Manx Shearwaters. Other sightings of note from the survey weekend included several Black Terns & Great Shearwaters as well as some nice cetaceans & Ocean Sunfish.

A series of low pressures are due to hit the Irish coastline this week which will surely produce some interesting results, particularly along the west coast, in SW winds.

Best of luck to all this weekend,
Niall Keogh

Seatrack co-ordinator

Some late August Seatrack sightings as follows: (E = East, W = West, S = South, N = North & M = Milling)

Saturday 18th August 2012

Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal (Chris Ingram)
5 W Sooty Shearwater, 7 W & 2 E Manx Shearwater, 401 W & 39 E Fulmar, 5 W Great Skua (Bonxie) & 1 E Skua sp.

Annagh Head, Co. Mayo (Dave Suddaby)
3 Sooty Shearwater, 6 Storm Petrels, 4 Great Skua (Bonxie) & 1 Arctic Skua.

Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare (Niall T. Keogh)
All birds heading W: 1 Balearic Shearwater, 16 Sooty Shearwater, 470+ Manx Shearwater, 590+ Fulmar, 20 Storm Petrel, 5 Common Scoter, 1 Pomarine Skua, 8 Arctic Skua, 6 Puffin, 5-6 Bottlenose Dolphins & 100+ Common Dolphins. Full details here

Galley Head, Co. Cork (Colin Barton)
3 Sooty Shearwater & 1 Ocean Sunfish.

Ram Head, Co. Waterford (Andrew Malcolm)
68 W Manx Shearwater, 1 W Storm Petrel, 1 W Great Skua (Bonxie) & 1 Humpback Whale.

Brownstown Head, Co. Waterford (Paul M Walsh)
31 E, 10 W & 50+ M Manx Shearwater, 1 W Great Skua (Bonxie), 1 W Arctic Skua, 2 E Common Scoter, 13 E & 43 W Sandwich Tern & 1 Grey Seal.

Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford (Noel Keogh)
2 W Fea’s-type Petrels, 1 Great Shearwater, 4 Sooty Shearwater, c.1,000 W + M Manx Shearwater, 3 Black Tern, 1 Little Gull, 4 Arctic Skua, 2 Storm Petrel, 1 Puffin, 15 Common Scoter, 5 Little Terns, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 100’s of ‘Commic’ & Roseate Terns.

Sunday 19th August 2012

Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare (Niall T. Keogh)
All birds heading W: 2 Balearic Shearwater, 30 Sooty Shearwater, 395+ Manx Shearwater, 190+ Fulmar, 142 Storm Petrel, 7 Common Scoter, 4 Great Skua (Bonxie), 1 Pomarine Skua, 12 Arctic Skua, 1 Black Tern, 2 Puffin, 1 Spotted Redshank, 8-10 Bottlenose Dolphin, 30+ Common Dolphin & 2 Leatherback Turtle. Full details here.

Galley Head, Co. Cork (Colin Barton)
1 Great Shearwater, 6 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Great Skua (Bonxie) & 1 Harbour Porpoise.

Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford (Kieran Grace & Alyn Walsh)
1 Sooty Shearwater, 12 Common Scoter, 1 Great Skua (Bonxie), 4 Arctic Skua, 7 Black Tern & 7 Great-crested Grebe. 

Wicklow Head, Co. Wicklow (Steve Newton)
2,000 N Manx Shearwater.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Barolo's Shearwater @ Bridges of Ross 27th August 2012

Time: 06:45-10:30 & 14:00-18:30
Weather: F3-4 SW, overcast & clear to start, later sunny, dry & hazy (am). F3 W-SW, sunny, dry & hazy (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Paul Flint, Cory Flint, Neal Warnock, Andy Clifton, Malcolm Goodman, Geoff Clewes, Steve Webb, John N Murphy et al.

Barolo’s Shearwater: 1 West @ 15:45 (Niall T. Keogh, Neal Warnock & John N Murphy)
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 14
Manx Shearwater: 2,500+ (am)
Fulmar: 250+ (am)
Storm Petrel: 10
Common Scoter: 4 males
Great Skua (Bonxie): 7
Arctic Skua: 6
Sandwich Tern: 5
Arctic Tern: 16
Puffin: 2

Black-tailed Godwit: 1
Common Sandpiper: 2

Common Dolphin: 7+ (incl. a juv) feeding in the morning.
Bottlenose Dolphin: c.12 (incl. a juv) West in the evening.
Minke Whale: 1 breaching on four occasions @ 14:30

Another slow day, save for a large flock of milling Manx Shearwaters way off in the distance, heading East during the morning which gave hope for some nice return passage West in the evening. The expected large numbers of Manxies passing the headland didn't materialise later in the day but quality was most certainly provided by a Barolo's Shearwater which was picked up rather abruptly at 15:45pm, just right of straight out from the watchpoint, in the company of 2-3 Manx Shearwaters at a reasonable range (mid-close) and seen well for c.1 minute or so (time always hard to judge when watching Mega seabirds!) as it flew West. The ID of this bird was apparent almost instantly with the afternoon sun accentuating features such as the white face & whopper white upperwing bar. Overall size, proportions & flight style were all distinctive when compared side by side with Manxies, ruling out any kind of aberrant or 'runt' confusion risk. The bird became more difficult to pick up as it headed West, into poorer light & as a result unfortunately only 3 of us managed to lock on to it. There have only been c.21 accepted records of Barolo's Shearwater in Ireland up until 2010 so this bird was duly celebrated with a steak dinner & a pint!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 26th August 2012

Time: 06:30-10:30 & 13:30-17:45
Weather: F1-2 S, good vis, dry & sunny (am). F 2-3 S, dull, clear & light showers (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Paul Flint, Cory Flint, Jan Nordblad, Tom Nordblad, Peter Gluth, Lee Gregory, Neal Warnock, Andy Clifton, Malcolm Goodman, Geoff Clewes et al.

Sooty Shearwater: 5
Manx Shearwater: 200-300
Fulmar: 300+
Storm Petrel: 2
Common Scoter: 16
Great Skua (Bonxie): 9
Arctic Skua: 11
Sandwich Tern: 18
Arctic Tern: 22
Common Tern: 1
Puffin: 1

Whimbrel: 6
Dunlin: 71
Sanderling: 3
Knot: 2
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1

Peregrine: 1
Chough: 2

Common Dolphin: 6+ throughout the day.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 26+ throughout the day.
Minke Whale: 2+ in the afternoon.
Ocean Sunfish: 1 off Loop Head.

....The Bridges of Dross!

East Coast Terns have a tough time of it in 2012

The summer of 2012 has broken meteorological records, most notably in the amount of rainfall dumped on us and the lack of sunshine.  Amongst the seabirds, east coast tern colonies are amongst the largest and usually the most productive in the country, and although the 2012 breeding season broke records, a lot of them were not good news stories.

Terns are small graceful, swallow-like seabirds which perform spectacular plunge-dives to catch the fish that make up their diet. Most are greyish or white in colour with black caps and all five Irish species can be told apart on the basis of size and bill colour.  Little Terns are the smallest, with yellow bills tipped with black; Sandwich Terns are the largest with black bills tipped with yellow.  The three middle-sized terns, namely Roseate, Common and Arctic, have black or red bills.  All species winter along the west and southern African coast and migrate north to breed in Irish waters were they are reliant on a good supply of small fish, notably Sprats, sandeels and whitefish (Pollock and Saithe).

Ireland's five species of breeding tern: all have uniquely coloured bills that help distinguish them © Michael O'Clery 
On the east coast, we have seven principal tern colonies, working north to south:
  • Baltray, Louth – Little Terns
  • Rockabill, Dublin – Roseate, Common & Arctic Terns
  • Dublin Port – Common & Arctic Terns
  • Dalkey Islands, Dublin - Roseate, Common & Arctic Terns
  • Kilcoole, Wicklow – Little Terns
  • Wexford Harbour – Little Terns
  • Our Lady’s Island Lake, Wexford – Sandwich, Roseate, Common & Arctic Terns

All tern colonies are protected and most are managed or wardened to some extent by staff and volunteers from BirdWatch Ireland, National Parks & Wildlife Service and Louth Nature Trust.

Of all the species, Little Tern colonies fared poorest; two colonies are on ‘mainland’ beaches whilst the Wexford harbour birds nest on a sandbank.  All colonies, totalling 250-300 pairs, were sitting on eggs (2 or 3) when they were washed away in early June by high tides backed by easterly winds.  Some pairs re-laid eggs a week or two later but again lost these to more wind-backed waves, and those at our flagship Kilcoole colony were not able to lay a third clutch and gave up.  A small number of pairs at Baltray survived the later storms and 24 young fledged.

Little Tern  © John Fox
Record numbers of Roseate Terns nested on Rockabill, over 1,200 pairs; most of these reared a single chick, which was not bad considering the rain . . . though they do have cosy nest boxes to shelter in thanks to the woodwork students at Balbriggan Community College.  The Common Terns and Arctic Terns did not fare so well and fledged well under a single young per pair.

Roseate Terns on custom-made nestboxes on Rockabill island, off Skerries, Co. Dublin © Maeve Maher-McWilliams  
Dublin Port held record numbers of Common Tern nests (over 500) but once chicks started hatching, a mystery predator(s) started killing them.  Although not caught in the act, we believe rats had managed to swim out to the colony, which is located in the River Liffey, and climb the vertical wooden pilings and concrete walls that support the platforms.  Virtually all chicks were lost in this killing spree.  We now have the winter to work out how to prevent rats from accessing the colony next summer.

Dalkey Island supports a small mixed colony of terns and is overseen by members of BirdWatch Ireland’s South Dublin Branch.  Access to the colony was very limited due to the stormy weather and most early nesting attempts were lost.  However, some Arctic Terns may have fledged young on another islet.  One pair of Common Terns, from either Dublin Port or Dalkey, laid a clutch of eggs in late July on a yacht in Dún Laoghaire Harbour belonging to a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.  These hatched successfully and were moved to a specially adapted pontoon moored beside the yacht.  At the time of writing, they are thriving and we have discovered one of the parents was ringed as a chick at the Dublin Port colony in 2002: ten years old and still going strong!

A storm-wave washes completely over the main tern colony on Maiden's Rock, Dalkey, Co. Dublin © Michael Ryan
Our Lady’s Island Lake in Co. Wexford is home to our biggest Sandwich Tern colony and occasionally this has held 2,000 pairs.  This summer nesting numbers were down, at just under 1,700 pairs.  However, as an early nesting species they seemed to produce a decent number of fledged young.  Arctic Terns fared poorly; many nest close to the lake edge and were flooded or washed away with rising water levels due to all the rain.  Another mystery predator, this time probably a Stoat, killed a significant number of Roseate Tern chicks fairly late in the season and overall a maximum of 91 chicks probably fledged from the 126 pairs that laid eggs.  This ‘productivity’ was similar to that at Rockabill.

Let’s hope for a better summer in 2013?

Dr. Stephen Newton
Senior Conservation Officer - Seabirds
BirdWatch Ireland

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 25th August 2012

Time: 06:30-10:30 & 11:00-19:00
Weather: F4-5 NW later N-NW, overcast, mild, excellent vis & some light drizzle. F3 NW, sunny, dry & hazy (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Dan Pointon, Paul Flint, Cory Flint, Jan Nordblad, Tom Nordblad, Peter Gluth, Lee Gregory, Joe Adamson, Jim Sheehan, Steve Webb, Neal Warnock, Mick Derwin, Steve Millar, Owen Foley, Conor Foley, Donal Foley, Eanna O’Flynn, Geoff Hunt, Mike Flanagan et al.

Balearic Shearwater: 3
Sooty Shearwater: 3
Manx Shearwater: 500+
Fulmar: 360+
Storm Petrel: 3
Common Scoter: 2 males
Great Skua (Bonxie): 14
Pomarine Skua: 5 subadults
Arctic Skua: 32
Sabine’s Gull: 2 adults
Kittiwake: 215+ incl. 22 juvs.
Sandwich Tern: 71
Arctic Tern: 20
Puffin: 11

Whimbrel: 4
Dunlin: 13
Sanderling: 2

Common Dolphin: 3+ in the morning.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 3+ in the morning.

Some decent strength North West winds today, the favoured direction for this site but unfortunately they didn’t originate from very far out to sea so the hoped for steady passage of seabirds failed to materialise. Very few Manxies seen heading West, many more milling around or heading East very far out to sea (omitted from above totals). Nice numbers of skuas, Kittiwakes & Sandwich Terns however.

Dan has finished up his stint at The Bridges for the year so we’ll have to send him off with one final picture depicting his steadfast dedication to the cause... 

EDIT: Yesterday's pic of the horizon line 'ghost ship' seems to have been erroneously misidentified as The Black Pearl by the on site observers. One of our regular blog readers, Katie O'Flynn (age 6) has got in touch to say that it is OBVIOUSLY The Flying Dutchman. Apologies to all concerned.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 24th August 2012

Time: 06:45-11:00 & 13:00-18:30
Weather: F3 E-SE, overcast, mild & good vis. F3 E-NE, overcast, cool & excellent vis (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Dan Pointon, Paul Flint, Cory Flint, Jan Nordblad, Tom Nordblad, Peter Gluth, Lee Gregory, Joe Adamson, Jim Sheehan, Steve Webb et al.

Balearic Shearwater: 4
Sooty Shearwater: 54
Manx Shearwater: 2,700+
Fulmar: 240+
Storm Petrel: 24
Common Scoter: 1 male
Great Skua (Bonxie): 6
Pomarine Skua: 2 adult pale phase
Arctic Skua: 10
Sabine’s Gull: 2 adults
Kittiwake: 36 incl. 15 juvs.
Sandwich Tern: 2
Arctic Tern: 16
Black Tern: 2 juvs.
Puffin: 10

Whimbrel: 4
Dunlin: c.90
Sanderling: 1
Ringed Plover: 1
Knot: 3

Common Dolphin: 12+ in the evening.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 2+ in the morning.
Ocean Sunfish: 1

Terrible wind direction didn't install much hope in us but a nice flock of c.2,000 Manxies went through this morning with a load of Sooties & the 4 Balearics which spurred us on to continue seawatching for the day. The afternoon & evening failed to produce however! Star birds included a couple of full spooned Poms that went by in the middle of the day. A couple of distant Sab's eluded most of us unfortunately whilst some compensation was provided by the 2nd & 3rd cal-year Glaucous Gulls which were still present around Kilbaha.

As an aside, the 24th of August is said to have the highest number of Fea's-type Petrel sightings from the Bridges of Ross. As such it has been dubbed as "Holy St. Fea's Day" by some local birders.

...we saw no Fea's-type Petrels today.

3rd cal-year Glaucous Gull © Niall Keogh
A wrecked juv. Gannet was present in Kilbaha harbour © Niall Keogh 
All efforts to try & wake Dan failed miserably © Niall Keogh 
The Black Pearl appeared on the horizon line this evening! © Niall Keogh 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 23rd August 2012

Time: 06:30-10:45 & 16:15-19:00
Weather: F3 SW, bright, mild, some light showers. F3 S-SW, dull, mild & some showers (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Dan Pointon, Paul Flint, Cory Flint, Jan Nordblad, Peter Gluth et al.

Sooty Shearwater: 5
Manx Shearwater: c.300
Fulmar: c.325
Storm Petrel: c.100
Great Skua (Bonxie): 12
Pomarine Skua: 1 subadult pale phase
Arctic Skua: 6
Kittiwake: 23 incl. 5 juvs.
Sandwich Tern: 17
Arctic Tern: 4
Puffin: 1 adult

Chough: 2
Wheatear: 1

Common Seal: 1 close offshore for much of the day.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 2+ in the morning & c.8 in the evening.

Fairly flat grey sea, dull day, overcast, barely any birds passing. A nice break after a week of intense seawatching! A couple of Bonxies that went through were definite juveniles and the only Puffin was a clear adult type with a bright face & large bill noticeable even at some distance (all Puffins seen up to now have been dusky juvs).

A 3rd cal-year Glaucous Gull was also in Kilbaha harbour this afternoon. Bill pattern confirms that it is a different bird to that present on Monday. Three Glaucs in a week, in's all go!!!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

First Great Shear, Long-tail & Sab's: Bridges of Ross 22nd August 2012

Time: 06:30-11:30 & 13:00-19:55
Weather: F3-5 W, largely dry, bright & warm but some showers (am). F2-3 SW, sunny, warm & hazy (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Dan Pointon, Brian Porter, Paul Flint, Cory Flint, Brian Finnegan, Tom Tarpey, Jan Nordblad et al.

Great Shearwater: 2
Sooty Shearwater: 56
Manx Shearwater: 5,000+
Fulmar: 1,300+
Leach’s Petrel: 1
Storm Petrel: 90+
Great Northern Diver: 1 summer plumage
Red-throated Diver: 1 summer plumage
Great Skua (Bonxie): 48
Pomarine Skua: 5 (subadult pale phases)
Arctic Skua: 32
Long-tailed Skua: 1 adult @ 09:35 (Alan Clewes)
Kittiwake: 82 incl. 22 juvs.
Sabine’s Gull: 1 adult & 2 juvs.
Sandwich Tern: 13
Arctic Tern: 33
Puffin: 5
Black-headed Gull: 22

Merlin: 1
Wheatear: 1

Common Seal: 1 close offshore for much of the day.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 8+ in the evening.
Ocean Sunfish: 1

Slow at dawn for the most part save for lots of Bonxies ploughing through like flying bears! Kicked off from 8am until 10am when the majority of Manxies & Fulmars went through along with plenty of skuas, a Great Shear, the 3 Sab's & the Long-tailed Skua (all first sightings of the season from BoR).

Dead in the afternoon & evening, then out of nowhere a Great Shear popped up & drifted off as lazy as anything not long before we finished up for the evening.

Back by popular demand...Dan Pointon!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

First Leach's: Bridges of Ross 21st August 2012

Time: 06:30-10:30 & 12:00-19:50
Weather: F2-3 SW, largely dry, bright & warm but some showers (am). F4-5 W-SW, sunny, warm & hazy but with heavy showers in evening (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Keith Langdon, Mikey Hoit, Dave Farrow, Reg Land, Simon Woodhouse, Dave Andrews, Alan Clewes, Dan Pointon, Brian Porter, Paul Flint, Cory Flint et al.

Balearic Shearwater: 2
Sooty Shearwater: 84
Manx Shearwater: 3,000+
Fulmar: 1,000+
Leach’s Petrel: 1
Storm Petrel: 88
Kittiwake: 54 incl. 18 juvs.
Common Scoter: 6 (4 males & 2 females)
Great Skua (Bonxie): 15
Pomarine Skua: 9 (adult & subadult pale phases)
Arctic Skua: 39
Sandwich Tern: 6
Common Tern: 2 juvs.
Arctic Tern: 19
Razorbill: 90+
Guillemot: 15 
Auk sp: 40+
Puffin: 3
Black Guillemot:  1 juv.
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 1 adult
Common Gull: 1

Teal: 6
Whimbrel: 10
Dunlin: 7
Sanderling: 21
Knot: 2

Merlin: 1

Common Seal: 1 close offshore for much of the day.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 8+ in the evening.
Common Dolphin: 10+ in the morning.
Ocean Sunfish: 1

Another slow morning, livened up by some cracking Pom Skuas. Passage picked up from about 5pm when nice numbers of Manxies, Fulmars & skuas moved through. The first Leach’s Petrel of the season appeared at 19:08 which was most unexpected. I figured it would be a week or so before we would see one. 

F5 Westerlies tomorrow...bring it on! 

Pomarine Skua (video grab) © Niall Keogh
Dan Pointon...nuff said © Niall Keogh
"World of Pain" weather © Niall Keogh

Monday, 20 August 2012

Bridges of Ross 20th August 2012

Time: 06:30-10:30 & 15:00-19:00
Weather: F2-3 SW-S, dry, bright & warm (am). F3-4 SW-S, sunny, warm & hazy (pm).
Observer(s): Niall T. Keogh, Keith Langdon, Mikey Hoit, Dave Farrow, Reg Land, Simon Woodhouse, Dave Andrews, Alan Clewes & Dan Pointon.

Balearic Shearwater: 2
Sooty Shearwater: 32
Manx Shearwater: 855+
Fulmar: 720+
Storm Petrel: 155
Kittiwake: 97 incl. 32 juvs
Common Scoter: 14 (11 males + 3 females)
Great Skua (Bonxie): 8
Pomarine Skua: 4 pale phase (3 adults & 1 subadult)
Arctic Skua: 35
Sandwich Tern: 3
Arctic Tern: 9
Razorbill: 50
Guillemot: 12
Puffin: 8
Black Guillemot: 1 juv.

Black-tailed Godwit: 9
Dunlin: 27
Sanderling: 5
Ringed Plover: 1
Knot: 2

Chough: 2
Merlin: 1 chasing passerines at the seawatch site.

Common Seal: 1 close offshore for much of the afternoon.
Bottlenose Dolphin: 6+ in the evening.
Common Dolphin: 10+ in the afternoon.
Leatherback Turtle: Three sightings at 06:45, 17:42 & 18:50.

As in previous days, most sightings in the morning & generally quiet in the afternoon but a surprise run of skuas during the evening session included a few combos such as 1 Bonxie, 3 Arctics & 2 Poms (full spoons!) in quick succession. Some superb views of Leatherback Turtles today which may again steal the ‘Bird of the Day’ award...closely followed by a couple of manky immature Glaucous Gulls which spiced up the post-breakfast wander around Kilbaha village!!! Ah no, they're lovely really.

2nd cal-year Glaucous Gull  © Niall Keogh
3rd cal-year Glaucous Gull  © Niall Keogh
The Great Glaucous Gull Twitch of 2012  © Niall Keogh