Monday, 14 August 2017

Cape Clear, 10-14th August 2017

Phil W and I spent a few days on the magical Co Cork island of Cape Clear, to catch up with my old ringing trainer and friend Sam Bayley, as well as in a quest for seabirds. Seawatching was disappointing, as the conditions never quite came together for land-based observation, but a pelagic trip on the Saturday was a real treat, with 16 Wilson's Storm-petrels (a lifer), two Great Shearwaters, two Pomarine Skuas, seven Sooty Shearwaters, a couple of Bonxies and Arctic Skuas and a spectacular Bluefin Tuna! Hundreds of Storm-petrels came in to the chum and provided constant entertainment as they danced around the boat with the odd Wilson's thrown in.

Saturday night was utterly magical. Six of us set up three nets on a headland near the Blannan and caught and ringed Storm-petrels until we ran out of A2 rings, with 317 new birds caught along with four BTO controls. Handling these special birds under a perfect night sky during a meteor shower in such pleasant company goes down as an unforgettable life experience.

my first of many Storm-petrels ringed! (pic by Phil) 
Storm-petrels from the Cape Clear pelagic
the formidable and legendary seawatching site that is the Blannan

some of Ireland's finest seabirders
Cape Clear looking fine...
the obs