Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Seatrack Update: Late October Survey

This coming weekend (Sat 20th/Sun 21st Oct) sees the seventh and second last Seatrack survey of the season taking place, with a start time of 09:00am (crazy to think we were getting up for a 06:25am start back in July!). If you would like to take part then get in touch with Niall Keogh at for details.

The previous early October survey was rather quiet, mostly due to a combination of light winds & a fall of rare North American landbirds in Co. Galway which no doubt drew attention elsewhere! Saying that, Sooty Shearwater, Sabine’s Gull & Long-tailed Skua were all still picked up from Annagh Head in Mayo. On the East coast, the predominance of auks, Gannets, Kittiwakes & sea duck was notable compared to the almost complete absence of shearwaters. A single Balearic Shearwater was seen passing West at Carnsore Point, making an otherwise dead quiet morning of surveying worthwhile.

The forecast for the weekend looks as if calm conditions will prevail along the East coast on Saturday with moderate Southeast winds on the West followed up by moderate Northeast winds on Sunday in the East.

Best of luck to all this weekend,

Niall Keogh
Seatrack co-ordinator

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

Friday 5th October 2012

Annagh Head, Co. Mayo (Dave Suddaby)
61 Sooty Shearwater, 36 Great Skua (Bonxie), 7 Pomarine Skua, 8 Arctic Skua, 4 Long-tailed Skua & 1 Sabine’s Gull.

Saturday 6th October 2012

Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare (Paul Troake)
1 M Manx Shearwater, 1 W Diver sp., 1 W Red-breasted Merganser, 4 W Light-bellied Brent Goose, 136 W Razorbill/Guillemot & 10+ M Common Dolphin.

I guess I was the only birder to leave Co. Galway this morning!” (ed. the Kingbird had gone anyway so you were saved the hassle!)

Carnsore Point, Co.Wexford (Niall T. Keogh)
1 W Balearic Shearwater, 4 E & 1 W Common Scoter, 19 W Light-bellied Brent Goose, 1 E Teal, 2 E Red-breasted Merganser, 1 E & 1 W Red-throated Diver, 72 E & 65 M Kittiwake, 302 E & 244 W Razorbill/Guillemot, 7 E & 40 W Sandwich Tern, 2 Grey Seal & 5 Harbour Porpoise.

The Balearic Shearwater was heading purposefully West at 09:44am. No Manixes or Fulmars seen! Many birds way far out towards the horizon line were left unidentified due to haze & strong glare. Plenty of Porpoise action throughout.

Wicklow Head, Co. Wicklow (Steve Newton)
14 N & 1 S Common Scoter, 15 S Light-bellied Brent Goose, 2 S Red-throated Diver, 2 M Great Skua (Bonxie), 11 M Arctic Skua, 65 M Gannet, 140 M Kittiwake, 50 N Auk & 11 Harbour Porpoise.

No shearwaters, no terns and a few auks (50) heading N early on. Only excitement was 2 Bonxies (milling) and 11 dark phase Arctics harassing a feeding frenzy of 140 Kittiwakes! Otherwise local traffic of Cormorants and a few Shags, very loose flock of 65 Gannets milling/foraging throughout the 3 hrs and max count of 11 Porpoises.

Sunday 7th October 2012

Coliemore Harbour, Dalkey, Co. Dublin (Niall T. Keogh, Katherine Keogan & Brian Porter)
24 N & 1 S Common Scoter, 27 N & 9 S Light-bellied Brent Goose, 3 N Wigeon, 2 N & 2 S Red-throated Diver, 10 M Mediterranean Gull, 5 M Sandwich Tern, 9 M Black Guillemot, 110+ M Razorbill/Guillemot, 1 Grey Seal & 3 Harbour Porpoise.

Very slow going. Only real sightings of note were good numbers of rafting auks & dip-feeding Black-headed Gulls early on. Again, no Manxies or Fulmars seen.

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