Saturday, 6 April 2019

Mourning Dove, Doonloughaun, 16th November 2018

A few pictures were posted on Facebook on 12th November from teh Ballyconneely arera which showed a Mourning Dove. All attempts by myself to get further information from the poster were ignored and I got the impression that birdwatchers wouldn't be entertained which was perfectly understandable if the homeowner didn't want twitchers peering into their garden. That was that until out of the blue Mark Stewart had been in touch with the same person a few days later and managed to find out that the bird was still present and that birders were free to come and see the bird.
I was due to leave for Myanmar on the following Monday and would be away over the weekend so Friday the 16th would be my only chance of catching up with the bird. Seamus Feeney had been on site and had seen the bird first thing in the morning. There was no immediate sign when I arrived but it wasn't too long before it showed up feeding amongst House Sparrows and hens beside the house. It was a fairly relaxed bird. Paul Moore had come up from Cork for the bird having missed the first two Irish records. The first Irish record is also from Galway, found on Inishbofin on 2nd November 2007 and was present for about a fortnight. The second record was recorded from Garnish Island, Co. Cork on 25th October 2009 but was all too brief.
Unfortunately the Ballyconneely bird was last seen on the Friday and disappointed quite a few birders who had waited to see it on the Saturday. This is only the second American land bird for the Slyne Head peninsula with the only previous record being an American Buff-bellied Pipit seen just over a kilometre away to the east at Truska in October 2010. I would have expected a few others in my coverage over the last decade.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Friday, 29 March 2019

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, October 18.

I found a hippolais warbler in the Trident Garden at Bunowen on Slyne Head on 13th Ocotber of last year. The bird showed briefly but reasonably well however at a distance and in poor light as can be seen in the poor record shots below. The bird appeared very pale grey in the field and initially even suggested Olivaceous Warbler but wasn't quite right. The primary projection looked rather long at the time, it displayed a pale tertial panel and given the strong grey tones I opted for the Icterine Warbler option at the time. On review and in consultation with others it was clear that it was in fact a Melodious Warbler. Aonghus O'Donaill, Cathal Forkan, Richard Hunter and Eamonn Larrissey managed to twitch the bird with a little difficultly. I only saw the bird on one more occasion despite checking on several days after finding it. The bird appeared to just disappear into the middle of the garden and probably stayed in there not being particularly mobile. It was last seen on 20th October. It was another relatively poor year for the species in Ireland with only three others being reported in the Autumn. There's only one previous accepted county record which was found by Paul and Andrea Kelly on Inishmore on 5th Ocotber 2015. There is also only one county record of Icterine Warbler which was also on Inishmore in the following year.
A few pictures of a few Yellow-browed Warblers that were in the same garden around the same time.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Melodious Warbler, Slyne Head, 13th October 2018.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Slyne Head, 15th Ocotber 2018.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Slyne Head, 19th Ocotber 2018.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Slyne Head, 19th Ocotber 2018.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Slyne Head, 19th Ocotber 2018.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Inishmore RBF

Another quick trip out to Inishmore on 26th October to try to see a Red-backed Shrike that was found out there by Joe Proudfoot two days previously. Any shrike in Galway is a rare bird. The first Red-backed Shrike was "obtained"/killed hitting the light at Eearagh Island Lighthouse which is located just off the west side of Inishmore in Ocotber 1927. There are two records from Inishbofin both of which were found in September 2005 by Steve Dodgson. Another strangely underrecorded species here. Suffice to say I had no luck with my Red-backed Shrike search. Huge amounts of Inishmore are potentially suitable for a shrike, kilometres apon kilometres of stone walls and hectares and hectares of bramble and bracken patches.

I had time to check the Kilmurvy area and managed to pick up a Red-breasted Flycatcher in Kilmurvy Wood inside the walled garden. Most of the leaves from the trees on the island had now lost their leaves but in this sheltered little spot there were still a few leaved Sycamores present. Niall Keogh had found a Red-eyed Vireo in this very same spot just over week previously which hung around for a few days. This RBF gave quite good views considering they are normally secretive and fast moving a lot of the time. Ireland's first Taiga Flycatcher was only found a few days previously down in Cork. This is the eleventh Galway record and of those seven have been recorded on Inishmore. Thanks to Aonghus O'Donaill for the record information.









Sunday, 17 March 2019

Aughrusbeg Richard's Pipit

I was out at Aughrus Beg beside the inlet at Rossadillask on the 16th October my colleague Cameron Clotworthy to check up on a rather out of place Grey Seal pup that I had seen sat up on a rock in the inlet the previous day while carrying out an Irish Wetland Bird Survey. There was no sign of the pup but while walking along the shoreline I heard a Richard's Pipit calling at close quarters on two different occasions. I couldn't see the bird unfortunately.
I returned the next day and eventually managed to see it mostly in flight and just once well on the ground. It was extremely timid and generally wouldn't allow close approach when on the deck.
I managed to get some record flight shots and a few when it briefly landed on a bramble patch. Nearly all of these are fully cropped.
It was later seen by Eamon Larrissey and Aonghus O'Donaill on the following day. I don't think anyone else looked for it.
The only previous county record was a fly-over which Ciaran Cronin picked up over Nimmo's Pier on 29th October 2015. This was a long overdue county first. Odd how they haven't been picked up on Inishmore or Inishbofin to date.














Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Juvenile WRS's, Inishmore, October 2018.

Hugh Delaney picked up two juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers feeding on the storm beach at Loch Phort Chorrúch on Inishmore on 14th October. I was out on a day trip myself at the time and managed to get some shots. I had an adult here at the very same spot in September 2011. This is the first time two have shown up together in Galway. Both birds had started to moult a handful of the upper scapulars and one bird (individual one) had a distinct small bump on the upper mandible.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpipers.
Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.
Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual one.
Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.

Juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper - individual two.