Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Radde's Warbler

I struck it lucky last Monday (30/10/2017) when I arrived at Loop Head, Co. Clare just as John N. Murphy and Tony Mee were viewing a Radde's Warbler that John had found a few minutes earlier by the south side of lighthouse road.  This lively bird gave great views all day as it fed along the roadside bank and occasionally in the adjoining field. 

It was a first record for Clare and a great find by Murf!  While I had seen a few of them on the south coast last year I delighted to see this one closer to home.  It was completely unphased by all the attention from birders who gathered to see it and provided lots of good photo opportunities.

It was a good day's birdwatching with several Yellow-browed Warblers, Chiffchaffs, a male Blackcap, a Merlin and large numbers of Redwings, Song Thurshes and Blackbirbs.  This Chiffchaff was one of three in a small cluster of willows near Kilbaha village.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Scarlet Tanager

It was a great week for American passerine vagrants in Ireland and the Scarlet Tanager found by Harry Hussey last Tuesday (3/10/17) at Mizen Head, Co. Cork, a firth Irish record, was one I was keen to catch up.  I missed out on the previous one at Garinish, Co. Cork in 2008 so I made the long trip to west Cork on Friday (6/10/17) along with Tony Mee to see this one.

Fortunately for us the bird showed up within an hour of our arrival and gave us some good views on and off over a 20 minute period.  We also got a view of a Yellow-browed Warbler at the same location and one very brief view of the other American passerine in the area, the Red-eyed Vireo at Toor on the north side of the peninsula.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Little Stint

There were at least fout Little Stints at Blackrock Strand, Co. Kerry last week (25/9/2017). Two of the birds are featured in the shots below.

The two photos below include a juvenile Dunlin moulting into winter plunage, to the right of one of the Stints.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Curlew Sandpiper

The variety and numbers of scarce migrant waders picked up noticeably on the west coast during the last week of September.  I took a trip to Blackrock strand in north Kerry on 25/9/2017 in the hope of getting a few shots of the adult White-rumped Sandpiper that had been in the area during the previous week. While a got some brief views it never stayed around long enough to to allow me to capture a few shots.  The five Curlew Sandpipers present were much more obliging and were often willing to come close to the camera along with the four Little Stints and the many Dunlin and Sanderling on the beach.  All of the photos below are of juveniles; the lone moulting adult bird on the beach escaped the lens.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Black Tern

The Coonagh Nature Reserve hosted two juvenile Black Terns this week following the stormy weather last weekend.  A single bird was found there on Monday evening (11/9/17).  It was joined by a second bird on Tuesday morning and both birds remained at the site until Friday (15/9/17) at least.

Black Terns are scarce passage migrants in Limerick and Coonagh has proved to be most reliable location for them in the County in recent years.   They have been recorded previously at the site on autumn migration, with one in Sept. 2010, four together in Sept. 2011 and one in Aug. 2012.  The site has also atteacted the much rarer White-winged Black Tern once previously in August 2014.

Two juvenile Arctic Terns also spent most of the week at the site.  Arctic Terns are occasional passage migrants at the site, with notable influxes of 63 birds in April 2013 and 13 birds the following September.

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.