Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Royal Tern

Mayo's Royal Tern of last week became Kerry's Royal Tern yesterday(23/8/16) when Davey Farrer located the bird first seen at Roonagh in Co. Mayo on 16/8/16, at Beale Strand in north Kerry.  Davey has a great record with rare Tern finds including the fabulous Elegant Tern in the same area in September 2013.

The bird was easily confirmed as the Mayo bird as it was also a second summer plumaged bird carrying an injured right leg.  It is a third record of the species for Ireland and only the second live bird.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Solitary Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper

Cloghaun Lough, Kilbaha on the Loop Head peninsula came up trumps earlier in the week with two rare Nearctic waders.  The peninsula regularly attracts the less rare trans Atlantic waders like Pectoral Sandpipers, Buff-brested Sandpipers and American Golden Plovers and and has also had scarcer species like Lesser Yellowlegs and even an Upland Sandpiper.  However Cloghaun Lough was more noted for scarcer duck and occasional European waders so the occurrence of the Solitary Sandpiper found by John Murphy last Monady and the confirmation of Least Sandpiper identification. the same day was an exceptional occurrence.  I paid a visit there on Tuesday evening and was pleased to catch up with both birds.

Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper 
Solitary Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Sunday, 27 March 2016

King Eider

I got an opportunity to catch up with one of the two wintering King Eiders in the country last week (20/3/2016) when I made it up to Sligo with Tony Mee to see the spectacular male that has been in the Cullamore-Ballyconnell are since last January.   It was associating with a small group of Common Eiders just off the rock ledges at Ardmeen, Ballyconnell.  

The flock was initially a little wary of us and swam off southwestwards along the coast line but they eventually turned back and passed by us giving some excellent views.  As the terrain didn't lend itself  to bringing along the heavy camera gear I had to settle for a few record shots with small camera.

Male King Eider

King Eider with male Common Eider

King Eider with male and two female Common Eiders

We also got some nice views of the Common Eiders, a species we don't get to see too often in the southwest.

Common Eiders

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Cattle Egret

It's often the case that something unusual turns up when you are least expect it.  I stopped for a quick look at the flooded Groody Valley on the eastern side of Limerick City late last Saturday afternoon to see what birds were still hanging around there.  The floods had attracted large numbers of gulls and some additional Lapwing, Little Egrets and smaller numbers of other wildfowl.  I was thinking that a Glossy Ibis might be a possibility given the recent influx of the species to the country and with the flood waters now largely gone there was some nice pools remaining and lots of very soft ground.  The first birds to come into view 200m away in the distance were two small white egrets beside a Cormorant sitting close to the edge of the Groody river.  I was surprised to see that one had a fine stout yellow bill and was in fact a Cattle Egret.

This is the third record for the species in the County, following on from the pair seen at Loghill in north west Limerick in January 2008 and a single bird, presumed to have been one of the original pair, a few kilometres to the east at Mount Trenchard, Foynes in March of that year.  These birds were part of an unprecedented influx of the species to Ireland and Britain in the winter of 2007-2008. The second record was one of five birds on the Camoge flood plain at Grange on 15/2/2013 followed by a report of two birds at nearby Lough Gur on 26/2/2013, presumably from that original group.

I was only able to get a few long distance records shots(last two below) in the poor light with a compact camera on the Saturday.  I managed to get a bit closer in better light later in the week.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Glaucous-winged Gull

West Cork turned up trumps again with the Glaucous-winged Gull that was found there a few weeks ago, following on from the wonderful American Bittern at Castlefreke last month.  Fortunately it has stayed around so I finally got an opportunity to take a trip to Castletownbere to see it last Tuesday. The bird wasn't immediately visible at the harbour when I arrived but it appeared shortly after some bread was presented to the local gulls.

The bird seemed to favour the tops of the street lights on the road to the east of the harbour and it retreated there each time the bread was gone.  I was surprised how timid it was when competing with the Black-headed Gulls for food.  It tended to hang back and seem to get very little of what was on offer.  It was also harassed by one of the Herring Gulls on one occasion.  Even though it moved around a few times while I was there it spent most of the time sitting on the water or perched on top of street lights so I didn't get much opportunity for flight shots.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

American Bittern

This American Bittern was found at Castle Freke Lake, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork last Wednesday week (25/11/2015).  Between days of bad weather, including two storms, and work commitments I had to wait until today (6/12/2015) for a chance to travel to Cork to see the bird.  It proved to be a very rewarding trip as the bird came out in the open an hour after I arrived and gave great views for about 30 minutes as it fished along the north western shore of the small lake.  Amazing bird, great twitch!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

American Golden Plover

I took a trip to west Clare last Saturday (19/9/15)  to check out some of the wader sites and ended up on the Loop Head peninsula late in the day.  One of two adult American Golden Plovers that were found at Fodry, Loop Head, Co. Clare earlier in the week (16/9/15) was still in the area, hanging out with a flock of 30 Golden Plovers.  American waders have been very scarce in Ireland this autumn so it was nice to catch up with this bird.

Here is the bird again below with some of the Golden Plovers.