Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bridges of Ross 24th August 2014

Time: 0800-1000 & 1330-1800
Weather: F4 SE, intermittent showers (light) & good visibility.
Observers: Niall T. Keogh, Neal Warnock, Des Higgins, Peter Gluth, Peter Colston, Sharon Hogan, Andy Marshall, Victor Caschera, Jimmy Dowdall, John Power, Lee Gregory et al.

Common Scoter: 4
'Blue' Fulmar: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 1
Manx Shearwater: 200 in 15 mins (am) & 25 in 4.5 hrs (pm)
Arctic Skua: 2
Sandwich Tern: 1
Arctic Tern: 6
Sabine's Gull: 1 adult

Ruff: 1 past the watch point
Raven: 3 around the watch point

Humpback Whale: 1 breaching
Minke Whale: 1 breaching
Common Dolphin: 20+ feeding
Bottlenose Dolphin: 4

The weather couldn't have been any worse for seawatching! Relatively calm seas & a breezy offshore wind. Not ideal! But great for cetacean watching, of which there was plenty. Yesterday's splashing/blowing unidentified whale sp. was confirmed first thing this morning as a fantastic breaching Humpback Whale, a rare sighting in this part of the world away from the hub of acivity to be found further South around The Blaskets in Kerry. In fact, it was my first record of this species here in 13 years of effort between mid-August & mid-September. The breaching Minke added to the excitement along with leaping Common Dolphins & cruising Bottlenose.

The cetacean craze continued in the afternoon when some of us joined the IWDG Whale Watch Day event at Loop Head. From here we had nice views of 5 Bottlenose Dolphins and better numbers of seabirds (albeit distant) than from The Bridges. Rafts of 100's of Manxies held an adult Sabine's Gull, a dark morph Arctic Skua & a Sooty Shearwater.

Elsewhere, a flock of 22 Chough were seen at The Fodry, 2 juvenile Ruff were present at Kilcredaun marsh and a Little Egret at Cloghaun Lough which was a good local record.

Bottlenose Dolphin off Loop Head © Niall Keogh
IWDG Whale Watch Day at Loop Head © Niall Keogh

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