Thursday, 1 September 2011

Bridges of Ross, Clare, Ireland.

Seawatching at the Bridges of Ross

Sunday 21st - Friday 26th August
This year Dad, Dan Pointon and myself headed over to Bridges of Ross to seawatch during the peak dates for Fea's "type" Petrels, as well as the chance of rare "Big Shears" and Storm Petrels. Dan visited Bridges in 2009 and so expectations were high as he had already experienced just how good this place can be. As you will see below, unfortunately the wind strength/direction didn't transpire to be in our a favour meaning that it was slim pickings with regard to sea-watching, nevertheless we still managed a few bits each day. Personal totals can be seen below, click on any of the images to see an enlarged version. To keep up to date on what is being seen at the Bridges visit the sightings blog - click here

Hooded Crow
Sunday 21st
We didn't arrive at Bridges until gone 4pm despite landing at Shannon airport in the morning. We first birded Shannon airport lagoon, managing to pick out the long staying White-rumped Sandpiper amongst the Dunlin but failing to locate the American Golden Plover which had been seen the previous evening. We also stopped at Doonbeg on the way to our hotel but again despite an extensive search, failed to locate the long staying American Golden Plover. A few hours seawatching in the evening provided a few bits to look at in the form of - Black Guillemot (1), Manx Shearwater (1000's), Sooty Shearwater (20+), Arctic Skua (4), Great Skua (3) and a single Stormy.

Sooty Shearwater

Monday 22nd
The below figures for the following days are taken from the Seawatch Ireland blog, click link above.

Balearic Shearwater: 8
Great Shearwater: 7
Sooty Shearwater: c.225
Manx Shearwater: 800+
Storm Petrel: 5+
Great Skua (Bonxie): 6
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale phase subadult
Arctic Skua: 6
Little Gull: 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern: 24
Arctic Tern: 11
Puffin: 5
Common Scoter: 8
Whimbrel: 5
Shelduck: 2


Tuesday 23rd

Sooty Shearwater: 18
Storm Petrel: 4
Great Skua (Bonxie): 2
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale phase subadult
Arctic Skua: 2
Little Gull: 1 juvenile
Mediterranean Gull: 2 1st cal-years
Sandwich Tern: 52
Arctic Tern: 12
Puffin: 3
Black Guillemot: 1 juvenile
Common Scoter: 9
Whimbrel: 19
Teal: 4
Chough: 2
Minke Whale: 1 close inshore heading west.
Common Dolphin: 10-20
Bottlenose Dolphin: 10-12
Arctic Skua

Wednesday 24th

Balearic Shearwater: 3

Great Shearwater: 4
Sooty Shearwater: 80
Storm Petrel: 8
Grey Phalarope: 1
Great Skua (Bonxie): 10
Arctic Skua: 29
Little Gull: 1 juvenile
Black Tern: 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern: 7
Arctic Tern: 56
Puffin: 6
Common Scoter: 4
Whimbrel: 20
Bottlenose Dolphin: 10-12
Leatherback Turtle: 1 heading west close inshore.
Sunfish: 1
Bottlenose Dolphin

Thursday 25th

Balearic Shearwater: 2
Great Shearwater: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 18
Manx Shearwater: 1630+
Storm Petrel: 34
Grey Phalarope: 1
Great Skua (Bonxie): 1
Pomarine Skua: 1 pale phase adult
Arctic Skua: 4
Sabine's Gull: 1 adult
Little Gull: 1
Mediterranean Gull: 2 1st cal-years
Black Tern: 1
Sandwich Tern: 8
Arctic Tern: 142
Puffin: 2
Common Scoter: 5
Whimbrel: 15
Sanderling: 20
Bar-tailed Godwit: 12
Friday 26th
Manx Shearwater: 1850 (06:15-13:15) Sooty Shearwater: 18
Storm Petrel: 2
Grey Phalarope: 1
Great Skua (Bonxie): 11
Arctic Skua: 13
Mediterranean Gull: 1 1st cal-year
Black Tern: 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern: 18
Arctic Tern: 60+
Black Guillemot: 1
Puffin: 6
Common Scoter: 3
Whimbrel: 19 Sanderling: 10
Sunrise Bridges of Ross

Well as you can see, not a disaster but also by no means as good as it could have been. Will just have to go back next year!! Many thanks to Seawatch Ireland's monitoring officer Niall Keogh for local knowledge etc and to the staff of the lighthouse for cooking breakfast until 2pm! Also please note the second lot of records under Thursday's posting are the results for Friday, however we had to leave at 1pm - we recorded all the species listed but totals were slightly less.

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