Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Influx from Icelandic staging areas last week and brief census update

Slack wind conditions followed by a southerly airflow over Greenland/Iceland and between Iceland and GB/Ireland in advance of an approaching low (see image below) this time last week  (18th/19th Oct) saw a large influx of Icelandic migrants. Amongst which were Greenland Barnacles (which would have been staging in southern Iceland) arriving to Islay and W Ireland, Whoopers (breeding in Iceland and coming from various parts of Iceland including the major concentration at Lon in SE Iceland) and no doubt some of the 7000+ Brent that Gudmundur counted the preceeding weekend. 

The arrival of 'new' Brent was detected on Strangford by eagle-eyes McElwaine who noticed a wave of 'new rings' (new birds for this season, not present previously). So of course birds have been pushing south from Strangford at the same time at birds have been arriving in from farther north.

Census updates - additional records from Waterford and Kerry amongst other places have pushed our provisional 2016 total closer towards 38,000. We will report detail in some of the next posts.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

International census results coming in....31,000 and rising

Many of you will have been out surveying over recent days. At the end of last week Kerry Mackie and the expert Strangford count team (some say they train for this count by counting hailstones and that they know exactly how many Starlings are in the murmuration nr Slieve Croob) counted over 22,200 there. Two days later, with a different but no less challenging approach, Gudmundur, Finnur Logi and Kristinn H surveyed the bulk of the coastline of western Iceland (Faxafloí nd Breidafjördur), counting just over 7000 birds. Results are coming in from other areas and we'd be very keen to hear about any observations you have. Plse send counts (date/location and other details) to grahammcelwaine@btinternet.com

Thursday, 15 September 2016


We have always suspected that birds from our flyway population can make it as far south as Spain. Yesterday, for the first time, we received confirmation, when Vitor Xose Cabaleiro Barroso from the Andurina ringing group, reported that he had photographed 6ARR, along with its unringed mate and five juveniles!!
Vitor located the birds at Combarro, near Pontevedra, which is in Galicia in NW Spain (just above Portugal). He reports that in Galicia dark-bellied brent is a scarce winter bird, regular and irruptive, whilst pale-bellied brent is a rare bird, irruptive sometimes and mainly in autumn, with some wintering birds. His observation is only the eleventh September record.
6ARR was ringed at Erin's Isle GAA pitch in Finglas, Dublin on 06 March 2013, and had previously been observed in Kerry, Galway, Sligo and  Strangford Lough as well as Dublin.