Back in the country after two weeks and was eager to get back down to Ballycotton. With migrants beginning to turn up and seawatching season in full swing, I was watching the weather forecast carefully.
Saturday was due to get a slight bit of SW winds and rain in the evening. So I mooched around Ballycotton and the beach (and knockadoon) for most of the day up until 16.15 when I saw the weather coming in.
An hour and a half on the cliff produced a rake of year ticks, and valuable bonus points with Great Shearwater (2), Balearic, Sabine's gull, Roseate tern and Black tern all falling in pretty strange viewing conditions.
Winds were not strong, but dense cloud close in shore meant long periods of being able to see nothing, then it would clear for a while out to a certain distance and birds would be there.
A few Sooties, Bonxie, Arctic skua and Arctic terns were the best of the rest.
On Sunday I was back down hoping that the rain had dropped some migrants over night.
Phil's back passage had plenty of Willow warblers mooching about which had not been there the previous day, but nothing of any quality was with them...until I heard a familiar call coming from the field to my left. A nice adult Dotterel was shooting over, headed east towards the lake. A patch tick no less!
Alas, it was not on the beach, pools or lake, and with all the grain fields currently being cut, could pitch down anywhere. Amazingly, because of the points system in play..this gets no bonus points in Ireland, but Great Shearwater and Sabine's gull does. Ballances out I suppose.
A ruff and a green sandpiper, both somewhat overdue for Ballyc were also new for the year. A 3rd year Yellow Legged gull was the only other bird of note.
8 year ticks this weekend.
Comparative Score: 95.05%