Saturday, 31 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 31st August 2013

Time: 06:30-20:05
Weather: F3-4 W, dry, good visibility & warm.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton, 'Er' Neill Hunt, 'Mickey Boy' Mike Stocker, Paul 'Trops' Thomason, John 'Brick' Dempsey, Barry 'Bazzo' McCarthy, Andy Pryce, Des Higgins, Brian Porter, Owen Foley, Conor Foley, Donal Foley, Robert Vaughan, Shane Farrell, Steve Millar, Jim Creamer, Mark Stewart, Ciaran Smyth, Laragh Smyth, Anthony McGeehan, Lee Gregory, Stewart Ford, Roy Teale et al. 

Balearic Shearwater: 3
Sooty Shearwater: 50 
Manx Shearwater: c.1,900 in 3 hrs (pm)
Leach's Petrel: 3
Storm Petrel: 2
Great Skua (Bonxie): 26
Pomarine Skua: 5 pale phase
Arctic Skua: 25
Long-tailed Skua: 1 juvenile (Owen Foley)
Sabine's Gull: 2 adults & 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern: 1
Arctic Tern: 50
Grey Phalarope: 1

Whimbrel: 29

Minke Whale: 1
Common Dolphin: 1
Ocean Sunfish: 1

A few nice highlights today in the form of a ultra slim juv Long-tailed Skua, the first juv Sabine's Gull of the season & a Minke Whale.

Passage generally slow in the morning & early afternoon but a good flow of Manxies picking up later in the day which produced the much sought after Barolo Shearwater for three lucky seawatchers positioned on The Fodry, just West of The Bridges. Rather gripping for those of us at 'The Hollow', but at least we know there's one out there. Here's hoping for some milling feeding flocks tomorrow!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 30th August 2013

Time: 06:30-19:15
Weather: F4-5 SW-W-NW changing over the course of the day. Overcast in morning, sunny in afternoon. Dry for the most part with excellent visibility (some squally misty showers in afternoon).
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton, 'Er' Neill Hunt, 'Mickey Boy' Mike Stocker, Paul 'Trops' Thomason, John 'Brick' Dempsey, Barry 'Bazzo' McCarthy, Andy Pryce, Des Higgins, Brian Porter, Owen Foley, Conor Foley, Donal Foley, Robert Vaughan, Shane Farrell, Steve Millar, Jim Creamer, Mark Stewart, Ciaran Smyth, Laragh Smyth, Anthony McGeehan, Conor Ryan, Vivi Bolin et al. 

Balearic Shearwater: 2
Sooty Shearwater: 153 
Manx Shearwater: 1,500 in 4 hrs (am) & 1,100 in 2 hrs (pm)
Leach's Petrel: 1
Storm Petrel: 4
Common Scoter: 4
Great Skua (Bonxie): 38
Pomarine Skua: 18 pale phase
Arctic Skua: 18
Long-tailed Skua: 3 adults (Niall T. Keogh, Andy Clifton & Brian Porter)
Sabine's Gull: 9 adults
Little Gull: 2 juvs
Sandwich Tern: 6
Grey Phalarope: 2
Puffin: 1

Whimbrel: 6
Peregrine: 1
Chough: 2

Bottlenose Dolphin: 6+
Ocean Sunfish: 4 together in a group including one which breached 3 times in quick succession!
Leatherback Turtle: 1 surfaced twice @ 07:45am 

A beast of a Pomarine Skua!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 29th August 2013

Time: 06:30-11:30 & 12:20-19:15
Weather: F2-3 W, overcast, dry & good visibility (some sea mist in early evening).
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton, 'Er' Neill Hunt, 'Mickey Boy' Mike Stocker, Paul 'Trops' Thomason et al. 

Great Shearwater: 3  
Balearic Shearwater: 6 
Sooty Shearwater: 140  
Manx Shearwater: 2,850 West in 4 hrs (am) 
Leach's Petrel: 4
Storm Petrel: 6  
Common Scoter: 1 
Great Skua (Bonxie): 13
Pomarine Skua: 5 
Arctic Skua: 28 
Sabine's Gull: 1 adult
Arctic Tern: 96 
Black Tern: 3 
Puffin: 4

Whimbrel: 1
Redshank: 3
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1
Peregrine: 1
Chough: 2

Bottlenose Dolphin 10-12
Common Dolphin: 5+
Common Seal: 1
Ocean Sunfish: three separate sightings of breaching individual(s)

A light-moderate Westerly produced a nice mixed bag of species this morning, reminding us what a 'proper' seawatch from here can be like! Migrating flocks of Arctic Terns with Black Terns in association were particularly good as were close views of Balearic Shearwaters & Pomarine Skuas. A very quiet afternoon followed up by a few nice sightings in the eve. One Great Shearwater at mid range was the closest we've had over the past week.

Weather forecast looking promising for tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 28th August 2013

Time: 06:30-09:00 & 12:00-19:00
Weather: F1 NE (am) & F2 W turning F2-3 SW (pm), warm, dry & good visibility.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton, 'Er' Neill Hunt, 'Mickey Boy' Mike Stocker, Paul 'Trops' Thomason et al. 

Sooty Shearwater: 68
Manx Shearwater: 1,620 West (pm)
Common Scoter: 5
Great Skua (Bonxie): 2
Arctic Skua: 9
Sabine's Gull: 1 2nd calendar-year
Sandwich Tern: 33
Arctic Tern: 19
Puffin: 1

Bar-tailed Godwit: 6

Bottlenose Dolphin: 6+
Common Seal: 1
Ocean Sunfish:3

Neill & Paul showcasing the latest must have for hardcore seawatchers everywhere. Functional & fashionable... introducing, the seawatching 'pod'




Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 27th August 2013

Time: 06:30-11:30 & 13:30-18:00
Weather: F2-3 W-NW (am) & F2 W turning F3 N (pm), mild, dry & good visibility.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Dan Pointon, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Alan Lewis, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton et al. 

Balearic Shearwater: 2
Sooty Shearwater: 148
Manx Shearwater: 2,070 West in 4 hrs (am) & c.800 West in 4 hrs (pm)
Storm Petrel: 2
Common Scoter: 11
Great Skua (Bonxie): 7
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale  
Arctic Skua: 10
Sandwich Tern: 35 
Arctic Tern: 3
Puffin: 2

Common Gull: 1 adult
Dunlin: 16
Sanderling: 1
Peregrine: 1
Kestrel: 1
Wheatear: 1
Chough:2

Bottlenose Dolphin: 6+
Common Dolphin: 5+
Ocean Sunfish: 2

A continuous trickle of mid-close range Manx in the morning with the occassional Sooty kept the spirits up, in the hopes of a repeat of last years Barolo. Alas it was not to be. The afternoon session was pretty quiet to say the least. Highlights of the day were a pale Pom Skua & a Balearic Shear both at very close range.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 26th August 2013

Time: 06:30-11:30 & 14:25-19:25
Weather: F1 NE (am) & F2 W (pm), warm, dry & good visibility (some heavy sea mist in late afternoon/early evening). 
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Dan Pointon, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Alan Lewis, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Peter Gluth, Peter Colston, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton et al. 

Balearic Shearwater: 4
Sooty Shearwater: 602
Manx Shearwater: c.380 West in 2 hrs (am) & c.1,680 West in 4.5 hrs (pm) 
Storm Petrel: 16 
Common Scoter: 7  
Great Skua (Bonxie): 5
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale  
Arctic Skua: 4
Sabine's Gull: 1 adult
Little Gull: 1 juv  
Sandwich Tern: 11  
Arctic Tern: 20
Black Guillemot: 1 juv
Puffin: 1

Bottlenose Dolphin: 8-10
Common Dolphin: 15+
Common (Harbour) Seal: 1

Not bad for a day which started off with low expectations. A desperately slow first couple of hours in the morning was followed up by some excellent Sooty passage from 09:00am onwards with a total of 480 logged by 11:30am. Not many Manxies in association so perhaps it was simply a Sooty feeding flock moving past in search of new foraging areas? 

The combination of a change in wind direction & a spell of heavy sea mist in the late afternoon/early evening brought with it a nice passage of Manxies, a Pom Skua, an adult Sab's Gull (with a juv Little Gull in tow) and 4 Balearic Shearwaters, three of which came by very close to shore & offered excellent views.

Couldn't let this years blog go by without a pic of Dan in full seawatching mode...

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 25th August 2013

Time: 06:30-11:00 & 14:00-18:50
Weather: F4 N-NW, cool, dry & good visibility. 
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Dan Pointon, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Alan Lewis, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Peter Gluth, Peter Colston, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock, Malcolm Goodman, Andy Clifton et al.

Sooty Shearwater: c.45
Manx Shearwater: c.1,335 West in 2.5 hrs (pm)
Storm Petrel: 2
Great Skua (Bonxie): 6
Arctic Skua: 6
Arctic Tern: 6

Common Dolphin: 5+
Bottlenose Dolphin: 3

Tough going! Once the winds turn North of North-West you may as well throw your hat at it as birds tend to scatter and passage can end up going both ways! Such was the case this morning with about 20+ Sooties & 300+ Manxies milling about in circles for the first couple of hours.

Checked out a few local wader & passerine sites this afternoon but to no great avail.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 24th August 2013

Time: 06:30-10:30 & 13:50-18:30
Weather: F3 W-SW (am) & F4 SW turning W-NW (pm) with misty squalls, cool.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Dan Pointon, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Alan Lewis, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Peter Gluth, Peter Colston, Jim Sheehan, Victor Caschera, Neal Warnock et al.

Great Shearwater: 3
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 350+
Manx Shearwater: 1,880+
Storm Petrel: 10
Common Scoter: 8
Great Skua (Bonxie): 18
Arctic Skua: 9
Little Gull: 1 juv
Sandwich Tern: 5
Arctic Tern: 25
Puffin: 1

Whimbrel: 21

Peregrine: 1
Kestrel: 1

Common Dolphin: 10+
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Ocean Sunfish: 1

Wind was in the right direction this afternoon with a bit of precipitation to back it up but unfortunately originating from a system which was too broad & not concentrated enough further out at sea. Hence there was very little other than a constant trickle of shearwaters, especially in the afternoon. Not much even in the way of Gannets, Kittiwakes or Fulmars! Highlight of the day was the first two Great Shearwaters which came past side by side & at a nice range too.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 23rd August 2013

Time: 06:30-18:40
Weather: F3 W (am) & F3-4 W-NW (pm), dry & warm.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Dan Pointon, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Alan Lewis, Ger Murray, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Peter Gluth, Peter Colston, Brian Porter, Paul Troake, Eanna O'Flynn, Jim Sheehan, Jim Bowman, Denis Carty, Swedish House Mafia (Jacob Rudhe, Raul Vicente, Jon J├Ârpeland, Rasmus Elleby & Hans Elleby), et al.

Cory's Shearwater: 5
Great Shearwater: 49
Sooty Shearwater: 310+
Manx Shearwater: 3,000+
Wilson's Petrel: 1 @ 11:05am (Niall T. Keogh et al.)
Leach's Petrel: 1
Storm Petrel: 18
Common Scoter: 9
Great Skua (Bonxie): 24
Pomarine Skua: 3
Arctic Skua: 54
Sabine's Gull: 19 adults
Sandwich Tern: 6
Arctic Tern: c.120
Common Tern: 1
Black Tern: 1 juvenile

Whimbrel: 18
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1
Chough: 2
Peregrine: 1
Wheatear: 2

Common Dolphin: 20+
Bottlenose Dolphin: 8
Grey Seal: 1

A fine set of tallies for the day, most of which were logged in the morning, fizzling out in the afternoon when a handful of large shearwaters, Sab's & skuas were the highlights. No complaints all the same as Cory's aren't the easiest species to see at The Bridges. In fact, they were my first here since 2009! Birds today were very distant however, with most of the large shears mooching about amongst feeding rafts of Manxies & Sooties, often revealing themselves when a skua would burst into them! A side by side Cory's & Great was particularly nice & the day total of Arctic Skuas was pretty good for August (nice to see a few juveniles in there too). The Wilson's was rather distant unfortunately, pushing the boundaries for fine scale plumage ID. Thankfully it bounced about when initially picked up, showing off it's distinctive jizz & flight style. The Leach's was the first of the season from The Bridges & a good self find lifer for the Swedish lads who also sported some suspect umbrellas!...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bridges of Ross 22nd August 2013

Time: 06:30-10:00 & 16:40-18:40
Weather: F 1-2 SE (am) & F2-3 SW (pm), dry & warm.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Dan Pointon, Alan Clewes, Geoff Clewes, Alan Lewis, Ger Murray, Dave Cooper, John Cooper, Peter Gluth, Peter Colston et al.

Sooty Shearwater: c.55 (am) & 1 (pm)
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Manx Shearwater: c.1,400 (am) & c.310 (pm)
Storm Petrel: 11
Great Skua (Bonxie): 6
Arctic Skua: 11
Sandwich Tern: 16
Arctic Tern: 20

Common Dolphin: 20+ (am) & 5+ (pm)
Ocean Sunfish: 1 (breached twice!)

A slow start! Summed up by seawatching in shorts & getting some delicious ice creams!

Quite a few milling flocks of shearwaters this morning kept attention levels up but then turned absolutely dead in the afternoon/evening. A check off Loop Head around lunchtime failed to find the vast feeding rafts we were hoping for. An Arctic Skua, a Storm Petrel, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Bottlenose Dolphins & 3 Harbour Porpoise were the best we could do.