Wednesday, August 21, 2013

more large shears

After last night's haul, it was back out again this morning for first light. Once again, the first bird through the scope was a cory's, and the morning watch continued where I'd left off last night. There were more great shearwaters in the mix this morning though, which was nice! A couple of other birders joined me, and we made the best of the bad light, while the shearwaters went by at varying range. It was great practice trying to ID them all in the tough conditions, however after 4 hours my eyes were almost falling out due to the glare & hazy conditions. Time to leave, but not before a tightly packed flock of c.45 cory's flew past, with one sooty shearwater in amongst them - an amazing sight - like being in the mediterranean!

Today's numbers as follows - 6.45 - 10.45 am - all west

1,107 Cory's shearwaters
290 Great shearwaters
44 sooty shearwaters
19 Bonxies
2 Pomarine skuas
1 Arctic skua
17 Puffins
2 Storm petrels

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

surprise seawatch

Headed out for a seawatch this evening, mainly to escape the kids, but also as the wind was looking like it might possibly be ok-ish. So it was a bit of surprise to get 5 cory's shearwaters go past in the first 30 seconds. But they kept on coming, sometimes really close in, and sometimes pretty distant but a steady procession. At times, they even outnumbered the manxies! Every so often there'd be a smattering of great shearwaters go through, although these were mostly more distant than the cory's. A juv long-tailed skua was another surprise, with reasonable numbers of  bonxies & sooties too. Final scores as follows:

800 cory's shearwaters
57 great shearwaters
1 long-tailed skua
13 sooties
10 bonxies
1 arctic skua
10 stormies
19 puffins
3 arctic terns

Friday, August 16, 2013

a new wader for the patch

Sunny calm mornings have been fairly scarce here of late, so it's been a few days since I checked the lake. However it was worth a look as I noticed a wee wader running about on the mud. A wee zap of zoom and hey presto - a wood sandpiper! Patch gold and a full fat patch tick! Galley doesn't have much in the way of wader habitat, so such things are pretty scarce around here. Delighted to get one at last! A common sandpiper was also skulking around, for comparison purposes (123 for year).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bulwer's past Galley

Unfortunately I can't really write a post on this spectacular event, as I was at home sheltering from the rain, whilst still glowing in the er after-glow of multiple fea's action. Still, I reckon I can kind of claim some sort of part in the proceedings as if me & CC hadn't struck fea's gold repeatedly the day before, I doubt the Bulwer's Three would have sat it out so long! Anyway, over to Mr Paul Moore to give a brief rendition of what it feels like to find a Bulwer's Petrel on a seawatch....

"Well, that probably won't happen again any time soon. I'm sure people are wondering how was Swinhoe's eliminated so without going into too many details . . . I was a bit cheesed off at missing Galley yesterday as I thought it might be good, but decided to go down today anyway. Things were quiet (compared to yesterday) and two Dublin lads left about 11 leaving just 3 of us from Cork. Just after 12 while scanning the closest Manxies I glimpsed a large petrel disappearing behind a wave. I alerted the others, (shouting "Oh F***" does that very efficiently), and was rather pleased to see the bird reappear to reveal an all dark rump. I indicated where and what they should look at (though they might say I screamed 'dark rumped Petrel, 'what the f*** is it?') but even after just a few seconds it was clear to me that this was no Leach's type bird.  If I was to compare it to anything it would be a demented melanistic Feas.

It continued on it's merry way just c.300m offshore in view for a little over a minute. Thankfully the views were so good as we might have struggled if it were further out. As it was, we noted the size as a little smaller than a Manx (almost direct comparison), a long tapered tail throughout the time it was on show and faint pale upperwing covert bar. The rest of the plumage was entirely dark including underwings with a brown tinge. It was incredibly rakish and actually did very little flapping. The head protruded a bit and the wings were
angled forward. Flight style is a bit hard to describe due to different interpretations of words, but swinging, angling, veering were all used, Alec summed it up as 'it covered more ground laterally than a Manx. I'll leave the rest for another time as it's been a long day but God knows what else is out there with three Fea's the day before."
Paul Moore