Tuesday, 21 October 2014

AGP 21st October 2014

I found this juvenile American Golden Plover down on the  Aillebrack machair commonage today. It was associating with the usual flock of Eurasian Golden Plovers that move between here and Truska. There were about 160 present there today. There have been sixteen accepted county records to date, eight of which have turned up between these two close-by sites. Considering these sites have only been checked in the last decade or so it's fair to say this location has been and should remain the most regular spot for the species in the county. Both Inishbofin and Inishmore strangely have no records to date however.
A few shots of a first-winter Greenshank in a small pool by the edge of the adjacent golf course also, trying its best to look like a Nearctic mega but alas not to be!


Monday, 20 October 2014

Adult Arctic Skuas

Some shots of adult type Arctic Skuas, mostly pale and just two dark birds from Barna on Saturday. The last two dark birds seem to have started moulting the inner primaries.

Dark bird which seems to have dropped the two innermost primaries.

Same as above.

Same below.

Three new inner primaries.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dark juvenile Pomarine Skuas.

Right so, prepare for a complete overload of skuas over the next few postings. There's been a huge shoal of Sprat/Baitfish presumably spawning on the North shoreline of Galway Bay for the last week or so mainly from Salthill out to Barna. It's impossible to get an accurate estimate of the numbers of seabirds that it has attracted. The two main seabirds associated with the Sprat have been several hundred Gannets (maybe up to one thousand?) and several thousand Kittiwakes (5,000?). Rusheen Bay has been packed with gulls as Sprat and Mackerel who were probably feeding on the latter got cut off in the bay.
It was no surprise that this large concentration of seabirds in turn attracted good numbers of skuas. It's mostly Arctic Skuas but there are smaller numbers of Pomarine and Great Skuas in the area also. Cathal Forkan http://barnabirder.blogspot.ie/ and myself were treated to some fantastic views of up to half a dozen skuas feeding along the shoreline at a time beside Barna pier on Saturday. I've never seen anything like it before anywhere. Most of these birds were loafing around and flying up and back along the shoreline so they weren't actively on migration again making the process of counting them very difficult. I'll add a few more posts of the different ages and morphs in the next few days.