Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Seatrack: mid-August update

The second Seatrack survey weekend of the season takes place this Sat 16th/Sun 17th August with a start time of 07:10am. Current weather forecasts give the best conditions along the Atlantic seaboard with moderate West to Northwest winds hopefully producing some decent seawatching between Mayo & Donegal, particularly on Saturday morning.

This past week saw lots of media attention focusing on the arrival of the weather system affectionately known as 'ex-Bertha'. This post-tropical cyclone was followed up by a Northwesterly low pressure system, producing some nice seawatching at headlands along the West coast from Galley Head to Malin. Flavour of the month so far has been Cory's Shearwater which has graced the notebooks of many a seawatcher, albeit in small numbers. Along with these have been the first Sabine's Gulls & Grey Phalaropes of the season, small numbers of skuas and Balearic, Sooty & Great Shearwaters.

At the rarer end of the scale, singles of Wilson's Petrel were noted from The Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare on 8th & 12th August. Furthermore, there's been a superb early run of Fea's-type Petrel records as follows:
  • 30th July: one from a pelagic 8 miles off Galley Head, Co. Cork (Paul Connaughton)
  • 3rd August: one past Malin Head, Co. Donegal (Rónán McLaughlin)
  • 10th August: one past Kilcummin Head, Co. Mayo (Brad Robson) with what was presumably the same bird seen passing Annagh Head, Co. Mayo (Dave Suddaby) no less than 3 hours & 9 minutes later!
  • 13th August: one past Kilcummin Head, Co. Mayo (Derek Charles & M. Ullman)

If you would like to take part in this weekends Seatrack survey or wish to send on any additional seawatching records you've collated so far this month then please get in touch with Niall Keogh (Seatrack project co-ordinator) at

Arctic Skua © Gerry O'Neill

A special mention must go out to Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Data Centre who is currently in the midst of his 'Wild Ireland Tour', an epic cycle around the coast of Ireland visiting some top wildlife destinations and meeting with folk involved in research & conservation along the way. Liam popped into The Bridges of Ross on Monday for a spot of seawatching & I have to say, he was the hardiest man there by the look of his get up! 

Liam seawatching in style!

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