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 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.


1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous feather detail in many of the pics, and some great action shots!
    Coilin MacLochlainn