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Species accounts: tubenoses

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis


Common breeding species and passage-migrant. 



Dark-phase Fulmar ('blue' Fulmars) 


Colour-phase occurring as rare passage-migrant, occasionally as a non-breeding resident.



Fea's Petrel  Pterodroma feae or Zino's Petrel  Pterodroma madeira


Vagrant (or rare passage-migrant): one record. 


1998:     One, Helvick Head, 6 September 1998


Cory's Shearwater  Calonectris diomedea


Rare passage-migrant, but more frequent in some years.


First recorded in 1976, when five were seen a few miles off the Waterford coast on 22 August.  This was followed by single birds in Dungarvan Bay on 11 August 1977 and off Helvick Head on 12 August 1977.  Three were seen in Tramore Bay on 21 August 1980. 

 All subsequent records have been from Helvick Head, 1999-2008, including a high total of 25 on 8 September 1999.



Great Shearwater  Puffinus gravis


Scarce passage-migrant in late summer and autumn.


First recorded in the 19th century, when two living specimens, captured by hake-fishermen off Dungarvan, were brought ashore alive, in August 1835 and September 1839 (Thompson vol. III).  There were several sightings from fishing boats off west Waterford in the 1970s.  Most recent sightings have been from land, especially off Helvick Head, including peaks of 30, 2 August and 54, 8 September 1999.  



Sooty Shearwater  Puffinus griseus


Uncommon passage-migrant in late summer and autumn; rare in spring.



Manx Shearwater  Puffinus puffinus


Abundant passage-migrant & non-breeding summer-visitor; rare in winter.


Regularly recorded in small to moderate numbers, passing or feeding offshore, from March to October, with larger numbers occasionally.  Particularly large feeding or resting flocks have been recorded during May-July.  Flocks or hourly passage rates totalling over 1000 birds have sometimes occurred.  Rare outside the months March-October.



Balearic Shearwater  Puffinus mauretanicus


Rare passage-migrant in summer, autumn and winter.   


Formerly considered a subspecies of Manx Shearwater but now assigned full species status.  Mainly recorded July-October but with several December records.  First recorded in 1978, off Helvick Head on 22 July.  Most subsequent records have been from Helvick Head or, to a lesser extent, Brownstown Head.  Birds are generally recorded passing east or west, but quite often birds will alight on the sea or feed by diving close inshore, often in association with other feeding seabirds. The highest day-total involved 15 passing Helvick Head, 8 September 1999.



Storm Petrel  Hydrobates pelagicus


Uncommon, but under-recorded, passage-migrant & non-breeding summer-visitor (mainly May-August).


Mainly recorded May-August during onshore winds or in foggy conditions along the coast, with Helvick Head, Brownstown Head and Waterford Harbour among the most frequent locations.  Presumed wandering non-breeding birds have also been attracted ashore for mist-netting and ringing using tape-lures of the churring call, during July and August. Up to 50 birds in a night at Helvick Head, and 100 in a night at Brownstown Head have been captured in this way.



Leach's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa


Rare passage-migrant in autumn and winter.


This species is prone to being driven inshore (or ashore) by severe storms in late autumn or winter.  Among other occasions in the 19th century, it was recorded in Co Waterford during south-westerly storms in the period 26 September to 14 October 1891(Ussher & Warren 1900).  More recently, the large-scale ‘wreck’ of Leach’s Petrels in autumn 1952 also involved Co Waterford.  In recent decades, most records have been from Helvick Head or elsewhere in the Dungarvan area, typically during or after onshore gales. 


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