Friday, 17 October 2014

Storms and skuas

I have been doing a good bit of birding recently, I managed to get 3 new lifers in the past week, which is something that is happening less and less often as my list is slowly, but surely growing, they are Spotted Redshank, Long-Tailed Duck and a Lesser scaup! I saw the lesser scaup while out with another birder, Dermot Breen, at Rahasane Turlough last sunday, He picked up the bird and has better photos than I do of it so check them out at his brilliant blog here.
    The weather at the minute is causing some very interesting birding opportunities in Galway Bay at the minute. Strong inwards winds combined with a high amount of sprat in the bay have in effect produced a "perfect storm". There are thousands upon thousands(no exaggeration!) of gulls around my patch of Barna pier and into Silverstrand and Salthill. A huge majority of the gulls are kittiwakes, which has great knock on effects in that there are hundreds of skuas chasing them very close in to shore. I have never had such amazing views of skuas ever before, many were flying right over my head. Unfortunately by the time I get home from school and out the light is starting to go so I have to use very high iso and low shutter speeds, resulting in pretty bad photos. I will put up the best I have gotten so far anyway. The only skua species at Barna pier this evening were Pomarine and Arctic of which combined were about ten birds but there have been a few Bonxies around too.
    Tomorrow I will try to improve on these in the afternoon and hopefully better light (and drier weather!)
Also of note were the high numbers of Gannet extremely close in to the shore and a little gull or two knocking around.

Lesser Scaup-I swear!

Doing what it does best... Harassing kittiwakes

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