Saturday, 3 March 2012

COTF3 Day 9: Land Ho!

Last night we made our way inshore to conduct coastal transects targeting major headlands from Cape Clear (West Cork) to Ram Head (Waterford). The first day of this inshore survey provided numerous Common Dolphin sightings for the cetacean team.

Common Dolphins off West Cork (c) Conor Ryan

The seabird team noted lower numbers of GannetsKittiwakes and Fulmars in this area compared to offshore counts, whilst  6 Manx Shearwaters & 6 Puffins provided further interest. A total of 7 species were added to the expedition list today: Razorbills and Guillemots were both plentiful, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls were frequently observed near the vessel, a Red-throated Diver was seen near Galley Head & 2 Common Gulls flew east in the late evening. Of particular note was a 2nd-winter Iceland Gull which circled the R.V. Celtic Explorer for a time. These 'white-winged' gulls are a scarce winter visitor from the Arctic.

Iceland Gull of West Cork (c) Conor Ryan

The zooplankton team were unable to survey last night partly due to weather conditions but also due to moving to inshore waters for today's survey efforts. However, the team plan to complete 2 stations tonight in hopes of obtaining barrel jellyfish samples.

Sunset over Knockadoon Head (c) Lilian Lieber

Today's blog contributor: Teresa Martin (Marine Mammal Observer)

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