Sunday, 27 September 2020

Mediterranean Gulls in Limerick

Mediterranean Gulls are scarce in Limerick City; typically occurring in very small numbers in autumn and occasionally in winter.  Being a coastal species they are more regular further down the Shannon Estuary and can generally be found in most months at Tarbert Bay on the Limerick-Kerry boarder.

Adult winter at Limerick

1st winter at Tarbert on 31/8/2020

Adult winter at Tarbert on 31/8/2020

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Autumn Waders

Most of my wader watching this Autumn was in the Seafield, Quilty and Lahinch areas in Co. Clare.

Curlew Sandpipers, which breed in the Siberian Arctic, were the first of the scarcer waders to arrive at Seafield beach in early September. These two juvenile birds were present on 5/9/2020.

The first Little Stints, which breed in northern most extremities of Scandinavia and Russia, arrived later in the month. This bird was one of three present on 18/9/2020.

This lone juvenile Knot below was also in the wader flock on 18/9/2020 along with the Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and one remaining Curlew Sandpiper.

Juvenile Dunlin

Adult Turnstone with juvenile Knot 

Juvenile Sanderling

The Loop Head peninsula also provided some wader watching opportunities. It usually holds a flock of Golden Plover in the Autumn.  While counting the flock of 35 birds on 14/9/21 I came across these two Buff-breasted Sandpipers.  These transatlantic vagrants are usually fairly approachable, but unfortunately not in the company of the nervy Goldies.

Ruff is another scarce wader in West Clare and I spotted this one on the 17th fairway at Lahinch Golf Club as I was driving past it on 6/9/2020.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Brown Booby

The discovery by Niall Hatch of a Brown Booby at Greystones beach, Co. Wicklow on Monday July 13th caused a great stir in birding circles in Ireland.  It turned out to be the fourth record for Ireland and the first accessible one.  Sadly the bird was showing signs of weakness by the following afternoon and was taken in care by the local wildlife ranger that evening.  It was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center where it unfortunately died two days later.  It transpired that the bird was seriously underweight and was most likely suffering for some underlying condition. 

I got to see the bird late on Tuesday morning when it was actively fishing along the shoreline interspersed with resting periods on the beach.  True to its name it showed no signs of fear of people and on a number of occasions landed in close proximity to people, rather than selecting quieter locations to roost.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Pacific Golden Plover

A 1st summer Pacific Golden Plover was found by Geoff Pearson at Doonbeg, Co. Clare on June 29th, 2020.  It was a first County record for Clare and also a new tick for me when I got to see it on June 30th.  It was great to get such a rarity so close to home here in the mid west, as most previous records have been in the south east and the north west.  Coincidently I also saw my first American Golden Plover at this site several years ago.