Monday, 9 September 2013

Final seawatch @ Bridges of Ross 9th Sept 2013

Time: 07:00-11:00 & 12:45-14:15
Weather: F1 NE initially turning F4 N-NW then NW from 9am. F2-3 N in afternoon. Initially clear with excellent visibility & cool, followed by bands of misty rain & reduced visibility. Dry & sunny in afternoon.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Noel Keogh & Tom Murtagh.
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 441
Manx Shearwater: c.1,100 
Leach's Petrel: 1
Storm Petrel: 7
Common Scoter: 10 (6 West + 4 East)
Great Skua (Bonxie): 22
Arctic Skua: 18
Little Gull: 1 juv/1st-winter
Sandwich Tern: 17
Arctic Tern: 11
Black Tern: 1 
Puffin: 1

Bar-tailed Godwit:1
Knot: 2
Sanderling: 2
Sparrowhawk: 1
Peregrine: juv hunting at sea (petrels beware!)
Chough: 2
Raven: 2 
The morning seawatch started off slow, with a calm, grey sea & excellent visibility allowing the few distant shearwaters which were passing to be checked whilst some skuas drifted through high overhead. From 08:45am onwards a band of misty rain approached from the North West with an increase in Sooties noticed running ahead of it & a welcome appearance by a Black Tern. Come 09:10am, the band of rain hit the headland & with it a F4 N-NW which whipped up as if from nowhere! 20 minutes of squall later & the rain cleared to reveal shearwaters piling by! Over 600 Manx & 300 Sooties were logged in the next hour alone along with the Leach's & an increase in skuas. 
The first time in the past 3 weeks where it felt like one of those magic moments at The Bridges where it all starts kicking off! But then after an hour or so the passage dried up rather abruptly, as if someone flicked off the seabird switch. A short afternoon seawatch revealed Sooties still drifting by but we had to eventually make tracks for home... Until the next time!

Great pics of two different juvenile Arctic Skuas which passed The Bridges on 7th Sept © John N. Murphy
No better place to be! © Chris Holt


  1. As a rookie seawatcher, a big shout out and thanks to Niall & Noel for the advice and fieldcraft tips when I joined them on Monday at the Bridges !
    Until next time indeed !