Monday, 30 January 2017

Yellow-legged Gull

The Caspian Gull attracted lots of birders to Limerick in the past two weeks.  The extra coverage unearthed some interesting new birds, including two new Yellow-legged Gulls following on from the third winter bird that I found at Corbally on 27/12/16.

First up was a fine looking adult bird at Thomond Weir on 17/1/17 found by Dermot Breen, the sixth record for the County (see shots on Dermot's blog site).

This was followed by a first winter bird found by Harry Hussey et al. at O'Callaghan's Strand on 22/1/17.  This bird, the seventh record for the County, has been by far the most approacable so far, allowing some good photo opportunities.








Standing in centre with similarly aged Herring Gulls
A few shots of the Corbally bird, the fifth County record, are included below.









Friday, 27 January 2017

Caspian Gull

Life ticks don't come along too often, especially out of the migration season, so it's a nice surprise when one turns up on your doorstep.  So it was with the second winter Caspian Gull that Geoff Hunt came across at O'Callaghan's Strand on 15/1/2017.  I had previously seen what was initially thought to be a second winter Caspian Gull in Tallaght in March 2014, however this bird is now considered to be a hybrid of some form.

This bird is a first record for Limerick and with 13 previously accepted records in Ireland it is potentially the 14th for the Country.  It also seems to be the first record of this plumage phase in Ireland as well.












Friday, 16 December 2016

Buzzard

It's great to see the continued growth of the Buzzard population locally here in Limerick and the surrounding areas.  2016 has brought the largest number of records of the species in County Limerick, with reports coming from 29 different locations around the County.  The birds have been most visible in March and early April when presumed breeding pairs were displaying and again in   the autumn months of October and November when juvenile birds have been more prominent. They now appear to be well established throughout the eastern and central parts parts of the County. 






The first winter bird above was photographed in Curraghchase, one of the most reliable locations in the County for the seeing the species.  The Country's motorway network also produces many sightings; the first winter bird below has been seen on sereral occasions in the past few months near the M7/M20 intersection.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Radde's Warbler

I spent several hours last Monday (10/9/2016) waiting for a glimpse of the Radde's Warbler that was found at Brownstown Head the previous day.  My reward was a two second glimpse of the bird when it briefly poped up from the brambles in the densely wooded garden where it was residing.  A new tick, but not entirely satisfactory due to the very brief sighting.  So when three new birds turned up elsewhere, including two at Barry's Head in Cork later in the week, I got another opportunity to try again for a better view.

The two birds at Barry's Head were favouring bramble patches in the yard of a derelict farmhouse and were showing reasonably well at times after they were found on Saturday.  I paid a visit to the site, very conveniently close to the Eastern Stonechat site, on Sunday and got to see both species.  It was great to get some good views of the Radde's.  One of the birds, which had been trapped and ringed elsewhere, showed quite well of a few occasions allowing me to get the following shots.











Monday, 17 October 2016

Eastern Stonechat

This first winter male Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus maurus or stejnegeri) was found at Barry's Head, Nohoval, Co. Cork last Tuesday (11/9/2016), one of several eastern migrants to make it to Ireland this month.  It stuck around all week so I go a chance to catch up with it on Sunday.  It is quite spectacular bird in the field and stands out very well from the local Stonechats (Saxicola rubicola), with which it was loosely associating.  It was somewhat reminiscent of Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) in certain views, expecially when the pale supercillium was evident.





The local male Stonechats, including this one below, did not appear to be overly concerned about the visitor on their patch.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Today (2/9/2016) was my first opportunity to make the long trip down to west Cork for the Rose-breasted Grosbeak found at Garinish last Thursday by Tony Lancaster.  I was a bit concerned setting out that the bird might have departed into Staurday night's clear sky and the absence of any updates on the bird while I travelling wasn't helping matters. However the first birders I encountered on arrival at the site were already on the bird so my concerns were immediately dispelled. The bird was a little distant at first but it eventually moved back to the garden where it was originally found and gave us some very good views while it fed on honeysuckle berries.










Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Lapland Buntings

Lapland Buntings have turned up in higher than normal numbers this autumn.  Loop Head, Co. Clare, has held 20 or more birds for the past few weeks and many of the birds have been quite approachable.  I got these shots last Sunday (25/9/2016), from a flock of six birds feeding in the heather just east of the lighthouse.








Loop Head also attracts lots of migrating Wheatears and there were several birds in the area again last Sunday, however this young bird below at Rinevilla near Carrigholt, proved more obliging for the camera.