Tuesday, 3 September 2013

22nd August, 2013 to 2nd September, 2013 Bridges of Ross, Co.Clare, Southern Ireland

Spent the following 12 days sea-watching from Bridges of Ross with David and Brenda and also a number of Irish and British birders. All the sea-birds were moving South and during this period we had 5 species of Shearwaters, 4 species of Skuas (all on one day with some fantastic close views of both Poms and Long-tailed, also 2 species of Petrels etc. Large numbers of both Manx and Sooty Shearwaters recorded with up to 30K of Manx and  1.5K of Sooties during this period.

Also recorded large numbers of Gannets, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars moving and on the land Hooded Crows, Ravens, Rock Doves but no estimation of numbers recorded.

I personally was watching over the first half of the sea looking towards the horizon whereas a number of other observers were watching further out and I have only included the numbers and species I actually saw in the following tables.

View of our cottage Teach Sonas and our hired car

View looking down our drive towards Loop Head in the distance.

View looking from our garden

22nd August: Fine and Sunny SW 2-3 07.10-11.10  12.30 - 13.15 and 15.55-19.35.
Manx Shearwater c1,500
Balearic Shearwater 1
Sooty Shearwater 41
Bonxie 4
Arctic Skua 14
Storm Petrel 1
Sabines Gull 4 (all adults two with full black hoods)
Sandwich Tern 4
Arctic Tern 10
Common Scoter 1
Whimbrel 17
Chough 2

Irish Hare 1
Common Dolphin c20
Irish Common Blue Butterfly several

Female Irish Common Blue showing the extensive blue on the upper
wings-it is an endemic subspecies P.i.mariscolore.

The Cove at the start of the Bridges of Ross

Looking north from the Cove.

Our original sea-watch point at the Bridges of Ross

In bad weather you can sea-watch from the Hollow, and obtain
some shelter from the wind and rain.

23rd August: Overcast with heavy showers, WNW 2 increasing to 5, 06.30-12.30 and 14.55-19.10
Manx Shearwater c3000+
Sooty Shearwater 217
Cory's Shearwater 4 seen well in a feeding flock of shearwaters.
Great Shearwater 14+ (Difficult to be sure of the full number seen as they were in a feeding flock with birds landing on the sea at times, with many Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars etc. Other observers were claiming around 40 birds although a number of these were a long way out).
Bonxie 14
Arctic Skua 40
Pomarine Skua 1
Storm Petrel 2
Leach's Petrel 1 very close with superb views
Sabines Gull 16 (All adults a number with full black hoods-superb with some lingering)
Black Tern 1
Arctic Tern c70
Common Scoter 8
Whimbrel 22

Chough 2
Bottlenose Dolphin 3-4
Common Dolphin c20
Grey Seal 1

Approaching the Bridges of Ross (Only one bridge left standing now)

The Bridge itself, two intrepid or some would say foolhardy birders, 
decided to jump from the top of the bridge into the sea below, 
both survived.

Floating sea-weed or mermaid hair below the bridge.

 Sea-watchers looking out from the bridge.


The sea-worn ledge at the bridge.

Looking south from the Bridge towards the Fodry and Loop Head.

24th August: Overcast, cool with rain at mid-day. Wind variable 1-2 increasing to 6. 06.25-11.30 and 16.00-1930.
Manx Shearwater c1,800
Sooty Shearwater 273
Great Shearwater 2
Storm Petrel 2
Bonxie 11
Arctic Skua 7
Arctic Tern 11
Whimbrel 20
Grey Plover 1
Common Scoter 7

25th August: Overcast, cool with rain. WNW 6 decreasing. 06.30-11.00 and 15.00-1935.
Manx Shearwater c1,300
Sooty Shearwater 38
Bonxie 1
Arctic Skua 7
Arctic Tern 1

Common Dolphin 5
Bottlenose Dolphin 3

Sea-watchers including David looking out from the Bridge.

View looking out from the Bridge

Niall and Victor (at the back) at the Bridge. I first met Niall in 2001 when
he was just a young lad, he has now become the ace sea-watcher
at the Bridges of Ross.

David and Brenda with the other sea-watchers at the Bridges of Ross.

26th August: Overcast cool. W1-2 to SW3. 06.30-11.30 and 15.30-19.40
Manx Shearwater c2,000
Balearic Shearwater 4
Sooty Shearwater 552 (Very large passage late morning)
Storm Petrel 5
Bonxie 4
Arctic Skua 3
Pomarine Skua 1 ad. l/p very close almost over the rocks - superb).
Arctic Tern 1
Puffin 1
Whimbrel 2
Common Scoter 11

Common Dolphin 6

27th August: Overcast, W1-2. 06.30-11.30 and 15.30-18.00
Manx Shearwater c2,500
Balearic Shearwater 1 very close with superb views.
Sooty Shearwater 78
Bonxie 2
Arctic Skua 6
Pomarine Skua 1- Another close adult l/p.
Sandwich Tern 29
Common Scoter 8

Chough 2
Bottlenose Dolphin 4-5

28th August: Overcast becoming sunny and warm SW 1 increasing to 3. 06.30-08.00 and 16.00-20.00. We also checked the bushes leading to Loop Head and visited Doonbeg Bay.
Manx Shearwater c1500
Sooty Shearwater 5
Arctic Skua 7
Bonxie 2
Sabines Gull 1 adult close range
Arctic Tern 33
Sandwich Tern 5
Sparrowhawk 1
Common Hawker

Common Hawker - Dragonfly tick for us.

Kilbaha and Loop Head area:
Flock of 17 Ravens
Stonechat 6
Rock Doves 40

Two views looking up from Keatings Restaurant and gardens at 
Kilbaha towards Loop Head.

View showing the Headland opposite Kilbaha

Some of the interesting looking ditches and fields on the walk
along the Loop Head road.

David and Brenda birding along the Loop Head road.

David and Brenda in  front of the Canada Warbler tree which we
saw in 2006.

We also obtained good views of it low down over the wall
near the bottom of these bushes.

The 2006 Canada Warbler along the Loop Head road.

This Red-eyed Vireo we also saw further along the road in 2006.

Two of the attractive gardens along the Loop Head road, hopefully
waiting for the next American vagrant.


Irish Speckled Wood possibly p.a tircis.

Common Darter

View looking from the top of the Loop Head road towards the
Bridges of Ross

Doonbeg Bay:
5 Greenshank
3 Dunlin
1 Bar-tailed Goodwit

Four views looking over Doombeg Bay. Last year we found a 
Ring-billed Gull here, and from time to time it does turn up the
odd American wader

29th August: Overcast with drizzle. SW 3-4. 06.30-11.30 and 15.00-19.45
Manx Shearwater c3,000
Balearic Shearwater 5
Great Shearwater 1 
Sooty Shearwater 47
Leach's Petrel 2 again excellent close views with forktails being seen.
Arctic Skua 22
Pomarine Skua 3 all very close l/p adults- superb
Bonxie 7
Puffin 2
Black Tern 2
Arctic Tern 15
Whimbrel 1

Bottlenose Dolphin 4

30th August: Stormy becoming sunny periods SW6-7 to NW 7. 06.30-12.00 and 14.00-19.00.
Manx Shearwater c2,500
Balearic Shearwater 1
Sooty Shearwater 57
Leach's Petrel 1 at close range.
Bonxie 23
Arctic Skua 9
Pomarine Skua 4 l/p adults very close 
Long-tailed Skua 2 (1 adult very close - superb)
Sabines Gull 3 all adults
Puffin 2
Arctic Tern 27
Whimbrel 1
Grey Phalarope 2 (1 came flying in and past us at very close range).
Golden Plover 1 in off the sea.

31st August: Overcast with light drizzle. NW4. 06.30-11.00 and 15.00 20.00
Manx Shearwater c2,000
Balearic Shearwater 2
Sooty Shearwater 9
Leach's Petrel 1 again close in.
Arctic Skua 7
Pomarine Skua 4 all close l/p birds.
Bonxie 5
Sabines Gull 1 Juv. at mid-distance - superb.
Arctic Tern 5
Whimbrel 22
Peregrine 1

1st September: Overcast, cold. SW 5-6. 06.30-11.15 and 13.30-19.40.
Manx Shearwater c7,000 ( One seen at close range had all dark blackish under tail coverts and appeared quite chunky when compared to nearby Manx).
Balearic Shearwater 1 very close dark phase bird.
Sooty Shearwater 87
Storm Petrel 3
Bonxie 12
Arctic Skua 17
Pomarine Skua 6 (4 l/p and 2 d/p birds again superb and all very close, one flew over our heads).
Long-tailed Skua 3 adults (including 2 together) at close range 2 with long tails-superb long views 
Arctic Tern 5
Common Scoter 4

2nd September: Misty with drizzle. SW 6. 06.30-11.45 and 13.45-15.00 
Manx Shearwater c1,500
Sooty Shearwater 56
Leach's Petrel 2 (1 very close gave excellent long views).
Great-Nothern Diver 1 ad. still in virtual summer plumage.
Arctic Skua 11
Pomarine Skua 5 (2 d/p, 2 l/p and 1 juv)
Bonxie 7
Arctic Tern 11

Chough 1