Thursday, 30 October 2014

Seatrack: final survey of 2014

The final Seatrack survey weekend of the season takes place this Sat 1st/Sun 2nd November with a start time of 08:25am (preference given to Sat 1st if possible so as to link in with other coastal seabird surveys being conducted by BirdLife Europe partners in France, Spain and Portugal).

Yet another Atlantic low pressure system will produce winds veering from Southwest to West over the weekend, hopefully conjuring up some good seawatching for observers on the Celtic Sea coast as well as along the Atlantic seaboard.

Some rather excellent late autumn seawatching continued over the past week or so with four species of shearwater seen from coastal headlands and islands in Co. Cork where small numbers of Balearic, Great and Manx Shearwaters were found among triple figure counts of Sooty Shearwaters. Strong Westerly winds coupled with an aggregation of Sprat saw a hive of feeding seabird activity in Galway Bay where impressive numbers of Kittiwakes, Gannets and skuas (particularly Arctic and Pomarine) were noted along with sightings of Leach's Storm-petrel and Little Gull. For an excellent series of pics from Galway Bay see the following blog posts by Dermot Breen and Cathal Forkan.

With the forecast for decent seawatching conditions this weekend, perhaps some Little Auks may be on the cards, particularly for those in the West and Northwest? Seawatchers should also keep an eye out for migrating divers and wildfowl with counts of Great Northern Diver, Barnacle Goose, Greenland White-fronted Goose and Whooper Swan making it into recent sightings reports.

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 season then please get in touch with Niall Keogh (Seatrack project co-ordinator) at

Balearic Shearwater from the R.V. Celtic Explorer, south of Roche's Point Co. Cork, 23rd October 2014 © Niall T. Keogh

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