Thursday, 31 July 2014

Seatrack kicks off with some Cory's!

Seatrack volunteers Ralph Sheppard and Chris Ingram made the best of some moderate Northwesterly winds on Tuesday and were duly rewarded during a three hour seawatch at Bloody Foreland, Co. Dongeal where they clocked up 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Cory's Shearwaters, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1,062 Manx Shearwaters and 4 Great Skuas. Not a bad start to the season at all!

The Cory's were no doubt particularly nice to see from a Northern watch point and great to get some records of the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater in from the get go.

Many thanks to both Ralph and Chris for sending in their records to the Seatrack project.

Cory's Shearwater © Killian Mullarney

The forecast for the coming weekend appears rather settled with some light Northwesterlies on the Atlantic seaboard the best of it. Saying that, a Fea's-type Petrel was seen from a pelagic trip 8 miles off Galley Head, Co. Cork on Wednesday so the birds are certainly out there!

The first Seatrack survey of the 2014 season takes place this weekend Sat 2nd/Sun 3rd August with a start time of 06:45am. If you would like to get involved then please get in touch with Niall Keogh (Seatrack project co-ordinator) at

Friday, 25 July 2014

Seatrack 2014

The Seatrack project aims to assess the status & distribution of the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater as well as other migratory seabird species in Irish waters through a series of coordinated volunteer seawatching surveys from headlands right around the coastline between early August & early November.

If you would like to sign up your local headland as a Seatrack survey site or simply wish to send in some opportunistic seawatch records at any stage during the season then feel free to get in touch with Niall Keogh (Seatrack project co-ordinator) at for more information on how to get involved.

There has been some excellent seabird sightings off the Irish coast over the past week which bodes well for the first survey weekend taking place on Saturday 2nd August. Pelagic boat trips off Mayo and Cork have recorded several sought after species such as Wilson's Petrel, Great & Cory's Shearwater, Fin Whale, Atlantic White-sided Dolphin etc.

Great Shearwater © Aidan G. Kelly

Seatrack 2014 Core Survey Dates (priority dates in bold):

August: Sat 2nd/Sun 3rd (start time 06:45am)

September: Sat 6th/Sun 7th (start time 07:45am)

October: Sat 4th/Sun 5th (start time 08:30am)

November: Sat 1st/Sun 2nd (start time 08:25am)

Seatrack 2014 Suggested Supplementary Survey Dates:

August: Sat 16th/Sun 17th (start time 07:10am)

September: Sat 20th/Sun 21st (start time 08:10am)

October: Sat 18th/Sun 19th (start time 09:00am)

Aidan Kelly & Victor Caschera were kind enough to send on some fantastic seabirds images taken during a recent pelagic trip to the continental shelf edge off North West Mayo. They'll hopefully whet the appetite for anyone thinking of doing some Seatrack surveys this Autumn!

 Great Skua © Aidan G. Kelly
Great Skua chasing a Lesser Black-backed Gull © Aidan G. Kelly
Great Shearwater © Aidan G. Kelly
Great Shearwater © Aidan G. Kelly
Puffin © Victor Caschera
Leach's Petrel © Victor Caschera 
European Storm Petrel © Aidan G. Kelly
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin © Aidan G. Kelly