Monday, 23 September 2013

Brent totals now exceed 16,000

I don't have any further details but the subject line says it. Latest count from Strangford suggests about 16,000 there at present... That is all.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Irish numbers building to 6-8,000 at Strangford

So the usual autumn build up is well and truly in train at Strangford. Kerry Mackie reports between 6 and 8,000 Brent on the north end of the Lough over the weekend. So despite the pretty nasty weather conditions (some of our first autumn westerly gales) thousands of Brent evidently made the leap from Iceland south.
Graham read 38 rings - some of the first of the season - in these windy conditions and amongst these was a bird observed recently in Highland (Scotland). No juveniles reported as yet.
And in Iceland aside from the smattering of lapland Longspurs, Sabine's Gulls and the odd American wader, Brent have been observed in some of the usual haunts. There some juveniles have been observed so at least some have been observed.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Autumn influx still slow

At least until a few days ago the numbers of Brent remained relatively low in Strangford with none at Lough Foyle - all suggestive that the vast majority of birds remain in western Iceland. Our friends there suggest small groups are widespread there in the usual haunts but we have no reports as yet from the 'big' sites in Faxafloi and Breidafjordur.
Within each of these large bays, whilst a range of smaller sites are used, the main concentrations are those at Akraos/Straumfjordur (Faxafloi) - the complex west of Borgarnes, and Alftafjordur (just east of Stykkisholmur) in Breidafjordur. The common denominator being that both sites have very large intertidal Zostera beds. Why rush past these when there's so much food available.
In previous autumn's we've seen these flocks of Brent getting disturbed or attacked by White-tailed Eagles and Gyrfalcon. Which in part explains when they come down to Ireland they take no chances when a Grey Heron flies past.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Here we go again

With intermittent reports of groups of Brent in Iceland and from various other locations including the Antrim coast (60 last week) and the Isle of Skye it was only a matter of time before numbers started to build up at Strangford. 800 were there at the weekend and the first rings read. 
Eyes peeled!