Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Night Heron

Limerick's first live recorded Night Heron and second verified record in all was found last Friday (21/4/17) by a Mick Madden on a series of small duck ponds at the rear of his home near Adare.  News of the bird broke on Monday morning and the sighting was confirmed John N Murphy and I by early afternoon.  As the site is private access has necessarily been very much limited.

Work committments meant that I did not get an opportunity to photograph the bird until this evening (26/4), but it was worth the wait as the bird proved to be quite tolerant of observers much of the time.

The previous record for the County relates to a dead bird found near Bruree in November 1957.  It was suspected of having died from a collision with overhead lines. Another possible record relates to a bird reported in the Abbeyfeale area in November 2011 on the Kerry side of the River Feale. It's not known if this bird ever visited the Limerick side of the river.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Cattle Egret

A local birdwatcher, Trevor Browne, came across a small group of Cattle Egrets near Mungret on the outskirts of Limerick City last week (28/3/17).  At least two birds were present initially, rising to four by the weekend.  I got out to see them on Saturday (1/4/2017) and managed to get a few photos.

This is the fourth record for Limerick, following on from a single bird at Castletroy in January 2016, a flock of five near Bruff in February 2013 and two birds at Loghill in January 2008.

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


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.