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!

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