almost missed this one:
Madeiran Petrel claimed west past Galley Head, Cork on July 18th at 08:15
Yup. Two observers - Owen Foley and R?n?n McLaughlin. There's an article about it on BirdGuides and Owen has already spoofed his own record on his blog at
Owen ('Pariah') will no doubt respond with more information for everyone.
Remarkably, as well as the Madeiran Petrel there were reportedly 10 separate Wilson's Petrels seen on the same seawatch
Last edited by Russ Heselden; January 20th, 2011 at 12:52 AM.
Indeed there were 10 Wilsons that day also. All part of what appears to have been a massive movement of petrels, with hundreds of European Storm petrels having gone by.
This movement continued to the following day, When Cape Clear Warden, Steve Wing, had 3 (possibly 6) Wilsons from Blanan, on Cape Clear.
Last edited by pariah; July 21st, 2010 at 08:14 AM.
What do you think was responsible for this movement? Do you think it was a case of the birds being out there anyway and were pushed inshore by the combination of fog/drizzle, or were the birds maybe moving up ahead of the current Atlantic high?
Were the numbers of European Storm-petrels unusual for Galley Head, or is that level of passage seen regularly?
I'm fancying this Friday for a bit of North Sea action (already booked off work!) - the high pressure hopefully will have looped over Scotland as predicted to give a nice flow of light northerlies originating from the west of Ireland. Cory's are still a decent bird here, never mind rare storm-petrels!
It is very hard to say. I have only ever come across one similar movement of stormies at galley, which was several years ago on what was quite a calm and sunny day. There were lots of birds...but they were specks moving west and identification was a no go.
I'm only working from memory here, but I believe the winds went from west to a general southerly/south westerly direction on the 16th and stayed that way up until Monday 19th. There was no real rain with those winds until the Saturday evening of the 17th.
As with the previous record count of Wilson's last year on the 2nd of August (an event I'm happy to say I was present for), I believe that the extended period of southerly based winds "Stocked the Pot" so to speak.
Last year at the bridges when the winds swung north west the birds had no choice but to be slammed against the Clare coast line and move past the bridges of Ross. (I cant help but wonder whats going by there TODAY in this Northwesterly...but I don't think anyone is present...typical Ireland).
In this instance, I believe that the birds had the bad weather follow them in from the atlantic. Poor weather late evening and over night on the 17th crushed them against the west cork coastline and the following morning they had no choice but to follow the thin band of visibility between land and fog. They essentially "Rode the Front" back to open water, as Ciarán Cronin said on Galley that day.
That was the real "X-factor" in this case. That the birds were driven close.
I've only seen Wilson's once before at Galley. It is not a headland I readily associate with petrel identification, often being at a distance beyond safe ID range (unlike the bridges). On the 18th so many birds were at 1/4 range or less that ID was often instantaneous.
Needless to say it is a weather pattern that I will burn into my memory for future reference, just as with the pattern leading up to the 02/08/2009.
Last edited by pariah; July 21st, 2010 at 03:17 PM.