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Monday, 26 March 2018

Black Brant at Ventry

 Adult Black Brant, Ventry, 25th March 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

 Quite how many Black Brants have been seen in Kerry over the years is a bit of a mystery, but at least on one occasion, two birds have been seen simultaneously, at Barrow Harbour and Spa on 6th November 2014. In early winter, by far the largest numbers of Brent are to be found at Barrow Harbour, but by December they usually disperse around Tralee Bay and become gradually more numerous on the coasts around the Magharees and Castlegregory. Black Brant occasionally turns up in these flocks if not at Barrow in the autumn then later in the winter at Sandy Bay or thereabouts. 

 Adult Black Brant, Ventry, 25th March 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

The bird seen yesterday at Ventry looks to be the same individual as seen at Sandy Bay in early mid-January, based on the similarity of the flank pattern, a distinctive dark  'double-band' towards the rear of the flank, especially on its right side.

Adult Black Brant, Ventry, 25th March 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Comparison of photos of Black Brant at Sandy Bay and Ventry, this winter, showing a distinct pattern on the flank (M.O'Clery).

However, this flank pattern is very different to the bird present at Sandy Bay in January 2017. One of the photos of that bird is shown below, but for more photos of that bird see the posts HERE and HERE.

Adult Black Brant at Sandy Bay in January 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Based on the flank pattern you would have to think last winters' Brant was a different individual to the one seen at Sandy Bay and Ventry this winter. However, how the flank pattern might vary from year to year is a bit of an unknown. Would an individual still maintain a distinctive flank pattern after each annual moult?