Friday, 19 December 2014

Cleggan Whooper Swans

A few shots of a small group of Whooper Swans from Lough Anillaun, Cleggan taken yesterday.









 

Monday, 15 December 2014

White-wingers & Harriers

A few pictures from today and Saturday. I had a first-winter Glaucous Gull and a second-winter Iceland Gull down at Rossaveel today. Not many gulls present, certainly less than one hundred large gulls. The Iceland Gull had very advanced bare part colouration for a second-winter e.g. the bill and eye but the plumage looks typical enough for a second-winter. I would expect a third-winter bird to show some grey adult type scapulars and wing coverts.

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Rossaveel

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Rossaveel, the black specks behind the eye are actually ticks/mites.

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Rossaveel

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Rossaveel

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Rossaveel

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Rossaveel

Second-winter Iceland Gull, Rossaveel.


Second-winter Iceland Gull, Rossaveel.


Second-winter Iceland Gull, Rossaveel.

Second-winter Iceland Gull, Rossaveel.

First-winter Herring Gull, Rossaveel. Well marked uppertail coverts but pale based tail feathers...

First-winter Herring Gull, Rossaveel. Well marked uppertail coverts, nice pink based bill but pale based tail feathers...
 I was out on Saturday with Cathal again trying to nail the orange harrier. No sign unfortunately but we did have at least two ringtails. One of the birds I photographed had four bars on p10, six on p9 & p8, 5 or 6 on p7 and five on p6.. This would be quite promising if this were the orange juvenile harrier that's been around lately. Apart from the above average number of bars on the primaries it bares little resemblance to a Northern Harrier however.
Also had the Great White Egret near the mouth of the Cregg river. We also saw one of the White-tailed Eagles out on a small island in the middle of the lough. It was just too far to make out the tag but it's probably D Bar. It looks like his radio tag has failed which is a shame (no radio signal on Sunday or today from there). The female's radio tag has also failed as the battery has died recently. It's going to be a little bit difficult to keep up with their movements from here on out. We also saw the returning male Ring-necked Duck and a had a good count (for an inland site) of three Long-tailed Ducks at Loughrea.

Hooded Crow mobbing Hen Harrier, Lough Corrib.

Hen Harrier, Lough Corrib.

Hen Harrier, Lough Corrib.
 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Nimmos' Pier 7.12.14

Another trip down to Nimmo's Pier on Sunday. Usual fair with nothing too out of the ordinary. Best result of the day though was managing to read a colour ring on a first-winter Sandwich Tern. It was associating with and still trying to beg from one adult present, possibly one of the parents? One single adult also present though no sign of the Forsters. The young bird was sporting a dark blue ring with the code UAC. As far as I can make out it hails from Grampian, in north east Scotland. Still awaiting on full details. Interesting to note that I also had a colour ringed first-winter here last winter which came from the Farne Islands in NE England. Great to have an idea of where some of our wintering Sandwich Terns originate from.

I also had the same first-winter, second-winter and adult Ring-billed Gull and a first-winter Little Gull in the same area. A first-winter colour ringed Black-headed Gull from Scotland was at Waterside also (also waiting for details on this one).

No sign of the orange harrier out on Lough Corrib later in the day, just one or two standard ringtails about. While scanning for harriers I managed to pick the Great White Egret in flight that's been hanging around for about two months now on Lough Corrib, nice way to finish up the day.

Colour ringed first-winter Sandwich Tern, Nimmo's Pier.

Colour ringed first-winter Sandwich Tern on the left with an adult, Nimmo's Pier.

Colour ringed first-winter Sandwich Tern on the left with an adult, Nimmo's Pier.

Colour ringed first-winter Sandwich Tern, Nimmo's Pier.

Colour ringed first-winter Sandwich Tern, Nimmo's Pier.
 
Adult Common Gull

Same Common Gull with pale irides.

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull

Adult Ring-billed Gull

Adult Ring-billed Gull
 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

3rd December 2014

A few shots from my travels yesterday. Stoat again in the car park at the end of the road at Dogs Bay. I had one here a few months back, probably the same individual.
I was surprised to come across Star down at Murlach also. This is about as far west as I've seen him before, a few nervous looking Teal on the lough!

Irish Stoat, Dogs Bay, Roundstone.

Irish Stoat, Dogs Bay, Roundstone.

Irish Stoat, Dogs Bay, Roundstone.


Star the White-tailed Eagle, Murlach, Ballyconneely. Eyeballing some of the quacks ;-)

Star the White-tailed Eagle, Murlach, Ballyconneely.

First-winter Herring Gull, Bunowen Pier, Ballyconneely.

Adult Herring Gull, Bunowen Pier, Ballyconneely.

Adult Herring Gull, Bunowen Pier, Ballyconneely.

Winter & summer plumaged Little Grebe, Aillebrack Lough, Ballyconneely.

Little Grebe, Aillebrack Lough, Ballyconneely.

Little Grebe, Aillebrack Lough, Ballyconneely.

Meadow Pipit, Dogs Bay, Roundstone.

 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Ring-billed Gulls

Some shots of two of three Ring-billed Gulls at Nimmo's Pier last Sunday, taken very low light levels late in the evening. There was an adult also present at the same time.
There has been another huge feeding frenzy of gulls between Galway Docks and in towards Oranmore over the last week or more now. The numbers at Nimmo's Pier appeared to be average but there are several thousand Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls further east. They appear to be feeding on Sprat-type fish similar to the feeding frenzy which took place only a few miles west of here in November which included big numbers of Gannets, Kittiwakes and a great selection of skuas. I saw none of these species in this current feeding frenzy however. Instead the gulls were joined by large numbers of Cormorants, Shags, Grey Herons and Little Egrets. I counted 55 Little Egrets along the coastline between Ballyloughaun and Roscam Point at one point. There could well have been two or three times of egrets involved along the entire stretch.
I also had two first-winter Glaucous, one first-winter Iceland and an adult Yellow-legged Gull mostly on the Roscam side of Oranmore Bay on Saturday. I've been watching gulls in Galway since 1999 and this is only the second Yellow-legged Gull I've seen here. I've seen twice that amount of Laughing Gulls here in comparison!
On another note Aonghus O'Donaill has seen an interesting Hen Harrier type beside Lough Corrib twice now in the last week or so. I managed to get distant views of it perched on Sunday. It looks incredibly orange on the underparts with no visible streaking. Northern Harrier seems like a possibility but without some decent shots its going to be very difficult to clinch.
One record shot of an adult male Hen which was also present on the same day. This winter seems to be a much better winter for harriers on the Corrib with at least four present and also a wintering Marsh Harrier.

First-winter Ring-billed Gull, Nimmo's Pier, 30th November 2014.
 
First-winter Ring-billed Gull, Nimmo's Pier, 30th November 2014.

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull, Nimmo's Pier, 30th November 2014.

Unusual Little Egret with bright pink bill and all mustard coloured legs, Ballyloughaun, 30th November 2014.
 
Adult male Hen Harrier, Lough Corrib, 30th November 2014.