Sunday, 29 July 2012

Seatrack Update: early August 2012

The first Seatrack survey session of the year took place on Sat 21st/Sun 22nd July. Normally one of the quieter periods during the project, this years July survey saw some nice sightings being logged however. Common Scoters were well represented all around the coast whilst Puffins put in a good showing along the West & South. Elsewhere, highlights were provided by 3 species of Skua from Galley Head, the first good run of Sooty & Manx Shearwaters of the autumn off Annagh Head and an always well received East coast Cory's Shearwater off Wicklow Head. 

The next Seatrack survey takes place this weekend (start time 06:45am), with a priority date set for Saturday 4th August so as to complement seawatching surveys being undertaken by our FAME partners who will also be watching from headlands along the West coast of continental Europe on that date. If you would like to take part in this international seabird census then get in touch with Niall Keogh at for details on how to take part.

July Seatrack sightings as follows: (E = East, W = West, N = North, S = South & M = Milling)

Saturday 21st July

Bloody Foreland, Co. Donegal (Ralph Sheppard & Chris Ingram)
145 W + 23 E Manx Shearwater, 6 W + 3 E Great Skua (Bonxie), 1 E Arctic Skua, 116 W + 26 E Puffin & 1 Red-breasted Merganser.

Coliemore Harbour, Dalkey, Co. Dublin (Niall T. Keogh & Brian Porter)
605 N + 2 S Manx Shearwater, 68 N + 19 S + 5 M Common Scoter, 2 N Great Crested Grebe & 4 M Harbour Porpoise. 3 Crossbills also seen in the pines behind the watchpoint!

Sunday 22nd July

Annagh Head, Co. Mayo (Dave Suddaby)
71 Sooty Shearwater, c.7,000 Manx Shearwater, 18 Storm Petrel, 21 Common Scoter, 5 Great Skua (Bonxie) & 1 Arctic Skua.

Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare (Paul Troake)
141 W + 28 E + 30 M Manx Shearwater, 3 W Storm Petrel, 8 W Common Scoter, 43 W Puffin & 2 M Whimbrel.

Galley Head, Co. Cork (Colin Barton)
6 Sooty Shearwater, 864 Manx Shearwater, 1 Storm Petrel, 59 Common Scoter, 6 Great Skua (Bonxie), 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 56 Arctic Tern & 59 Puffin. All birds moving W.

Brownstown Head, Co. Waterford (Paul M. Walsh & Jonathan Bulfin)

41 E + 865 W Manx Shearwater, 41 E + 12 W Common Scoter, 1 E Great Skua (Bonxie), 6 E Arctic Skua, 2 W Skua sp. (Arctic/Pomarine) & 5 W Puffin.

Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford (Kieran Grace)
102 E + 43 W + 50 M Manx Shearwater, 15 E & 18 W Common Scoter & 100+ M 'Commic' Tern.

Wicklow Head, Co. Wicklow (Steve Newton)
1 Cory's Shearwater, 1,068 Manx Shearwater, 41 Common Scoter, 1 Bottlenose Dolphin & 1 Harbour Porpoise.

Black Guillemots at the Coliemore Harbour watchpoint © Niall Keogh

Early morning seawatching at Coliemore Harbour, Dalkey, Co. Dublin © Niall Keogh

Monday, 16 July 2012

Seatrack 2012

The Seatrack project aims to assess the status & distribution of the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater as well as other migratory seabird species in Irish waters through a series of coordinated seawatching surveys from headlands right around the coastline over 8 weekends between late July & early November.

If you would like to sign up your local headland as a Seatrack survey site or simply wish to send in some of your opportunistic seawatch records then feel free to get in touch with Niall Keogh (Seatrack project co-ordinator) at for more information on how to get involved.

This coming weekend sees the first Seatrack survey of the season taking place with the current forecast for relatively calm weather on Saturday followed by moderate to strong South-West winds on Sunday.

Single Cory's Shearwaters have been seen from the The Bridges of Ross (Clare) & Galley Head (Cork) in the past day or so. Certainly a species to be on the look out for this weekend.

On the East coast, 5 Balearic Shearwaters off Mornington (Meath) on Friday followed by a juvenile Black Tern off Clogher Head (Louth) on Sunday suggest that there could be some interesting movements in the Irish Sea also.

HOT OFF THE PRESS!!! (From Cork Bird News Twitter feed): 
16/7, 15.10: Fea's type petrel at 9.45 this morning going west past Mizen Hd (ADuggan)

Cory's Shearwater © Killian Mullarney

Seatrack 2012 weekend survey dates & times (priority dates in bold):

July: Sat 21st/Sun 22nd (start time 06:25am)

August: Sat 4th/Sun 5th (start time 06:45am)
August: Sat 18th/Sun 19th (start time 07:10am)

September: Sat 1st/Sun 2nd (start time 07:35am)
September: Sat 15th/Sun 16th (start time 08:00am)

October: Sat 6th/Sun 7th (start time 08:35am)
October: Sat 20th/Sun 21st (start time 09:00am)

November: Sat 3rd/Sun 4th (start time 08:30am)