Sunday, 4 June 2017

Waders May 2017

A few pictures of a some recent waders including a pair of breeding Dunlin, a late staying Purple Sandpiper and a migrating Whimbrel.
While Dunlin were never a common breeding wader in Ireland their numbers have crashed like most breeding waders in recent decades. The last breeding population was judged to be just 150 pairs in 2008 (Lauder et al., 2008). I would think that the number is probably even half of that now at the very most. During the 2007 - 2011 Bird Atlas they were only recorded breeding in counties Galway, Mayo and Donegal. Most are to be found in Mayo. One of the few breeding locations in Galway was within the recent large "Cloosh Forest fire" which has destroyed the area of quaking blanket bog where they found breeding in. They start breeding much later than other wader species.

Female schinzii Dunlin 
Male schinzii Dunlin



Male schinzii Dunlin

Male schinzii Dunlin

Second calendar Purple Sandpiper in breeding plumage.

Second calendar Purple Sandpiper in breeding plumage.

Second calendar Purple Sandpiper in breeding plumage.

Whimbrel

Whimbrel

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Spring 2017

Just a round up of a collection of the few photos that I've taken over the last two and a half months or so with an obvious winter taste. Some shots of Waxwings from a flock that hung around the National School at Rosscahill on 5th March.

Waxwing

Waxwing

Waxwing

Waxwing

Waxwing

Waxwing

Forster's Tern, Kinvarra,12th March. 

Forster's Tern, Kinvarra, 12th March. 
I had this colour ringed Mediterranean Gull AJAT yet again in Mannin Bay on 3rd March. I've previously had it here on 22nd October 2012 and 26th February 2013. I also had it at Omey Island on 16th October 2013. It was ringed as a chick at Pionierinsel Lühe, Steinkirchen, Stade, Niedersachsen, Germany on 17th June 2006. It's also been seen at Presall Sands, Pilling Lane, Lancashire,  England and Wissant, plage, Pas-de-Calais, France. It's been recorded breeding on the flat roof of a factory near it's birth place in the intervening years.

Mediterranean Gull
I've also been busy with the national Peregrine Falcon Survey this year. I've been checking about nine 5km squares with active sites in Connemara along with four more out on Inishmore. Mixed results so far with some previously successful sites already failed even before egg laying was attempted. We also finished up Raven pulli ringing in April and most are now well fledged at this stage. We ringed a total of 36 chicks from 9 broods giving a average brood size of four chicks. 
A pair of breeding Raven was shot out on Inishbofin last year with the chicks lefted in the nest (we managed to rescue the chicks from a long slow death through dehyration/starvation). This was following a lot of anti-Raven sentiment on the island lead by one person in recent years who has emotively labelled the species as a "menace", "beast" and "marauders". Unfortunately one unknown person on the island decided to take the law into his own hands last year. The cove where the pair were shot is named locally as Uaimh na bhFiach i.e. Cove of the Raven. It's been a long time since Irish has been a spoken language on the island so there is obviously a long history of the species on the island. Not surprisingly Uaimh na bhFiach was sadly empty of Ravens this season. Ravens like all bird species in Ireland are protected under the Wildlife Act including all "seagull" species. There is however a derogation made for hooded crows, magpies, rooks, jackdaws, woodpigeon and feral pigeons under certain circumstances.
There was no sign the resident pair of Peregrines on Inishbofin this year.

Second calendar female Peregrine on an old Raven nest, photographed under license. 

Second calendar female Peregrine on an old Raven nest, photographed under license. 

Raven nest  photographed under license

Twite, North Mayo cliffs.



Monday, 15 May 2017

Sri Lanka 27.2.2017

So finally the last day of the Sri Lanka posts. I've stretched these out a little as to be honest I've taken very few pictures since I've been back so haven't had a whole lot to blog about in the last two and a half months or so. Anyway I spend the early morning of our last day in Sri Lanka around the Tissa Tanks while the rest of the group had their first lie-in on the trip. I couldn't bring myself to do the same as I wanted to soak in the very last bit of birding as I knew what a relatively bird-free experience was awaiting me back home! Nothing too exciting and no ticks. I was maybe hoping on the half chance of picking up something like a Besra, Slaty-breasted Rail or Ruddy-breasted Crake. It turned out that my Red-necked Stint the previous day was my last lifer of the trip. In the end I got 84 lifers, much more than I had anticipated considering I had previously visited Goa, India with a somewhat similar avifauna. In total I personally saw a total of 248 species on the trip and of course we all managed to see all of the 34 currently recognised endemics. I've attached my trip list below with lifers in red font and the endemics in bold format.

Lesser Whistling-Duck Caspian Tern Black-naped Monarch
Garganey White-winged Tern Asian Paradise-Flycatcher
Rain Quail Whiskered Tern Sri Lanka Blue Magpie
Sri Lanka Spurfowl Bridled Tern House Crow
Sri Lanka Junglefowl Common Tern Indian Jungle Crow
Indian Peafowl Greater Crested Tern Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher
Little Grebe Lesser Crested Tern Cinereous Tit
Painted Stork Rock Pigeon Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark
Asian Openbill Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon Jerdon's Bush Lark
Woolly-necked Stork Spotted Dove Oriental Skylark
Black-necked Stork Common Emerald Dove Black-capped Bulbul
Lesser Adjutant Orange-breasted Green Pigeon Red-vented Bulbul
Glossy Ibis Sri Lanka Green Pigeon Yellow-eared Bulbul
Black-headed Ibis Green Imperial Pigeon White-browed Bulbul
Eurasian Spoonbill Green-billed Coucal Yellow-browed Bulbul
Yellow Bittern Greater Coucal Square-tailed Bulbul
Cinnamon Bittern Sirkeer Malkoha Barn Swallow
Black Bittern Red-faced Malkoha Hill Swallow
Black-crowned Night-Heron Blue-faced Malkoha Red-rumped Swallow
Striated Heron Asian Koel Sri Lanka Swallow
Indian Pond-Heron Banded Bay Cuckoo Green Warbler
Eastern Cattle Egret Grey-bellied Cuckoo Clamorous Reed Warbler
Grey Heron Serendib Scops Owl Blyth's Reed-Warbler
Purple Heron Indian Scops-Owl Sri Lanka Bush Warbler
Great Egret Brown Fish-Owl Zitting Cisticola
Intermediate Egret Brown Wood Owl Grey-breasted Prinia
Little Egret Jungle Owlet Jungle Prinia
Spot-billed Pelican Chestnut-backed Owlet Ashy Prinia
Little Cormorant Brown Hawk Owl Plain Prinia
Indian Cormorant Sri Lanka Frogmouth Common Tailorbird
Great Cormorant Jerdon's Nightjar Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler
Oriental Darter Indian Nightjar Tawny-bellied Babbler
Osprey Crested Treeswift Dark-fronted Babbler
Black-shouldered Kite Indian Swiftlet Brown-capped Babbler
Oriental Honey-buzzard Brown-backed Needletail Orange-billed Babbler
Crested Serpent Eagle Little Swift Yellow-billed Babbler
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Asian Palm-Swift Ashy-headed Laughingthrush
Mountain Hawk-Eagle Malabar Trogon Yellow-eyed Babbler
Rufous-bellied Eagle Indian Roller Oriental White-eye
Black Eagle Stork-billed Kingfisher Sri Lanka White-eye
Crested Goshawk White-throated Kingfisher Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
Shikra Common Kingfisher Sri Lanka Hill Myna
Brahminy Kite Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Southern Hill Myna
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Pied Kingfisher Common Myna
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Green Bee-eater Brahminy Starling
White-breasted Waterhen Blue-tailed Bee-eater White-faced Starling
Baillon's Crake Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Rosy Starling
Watercock Eurasian Hoopoe Pied Thrush
Grey-headed Swamphen Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill Spot-winged Thrush
Common Moorhen Malabar Pied-Hornbill Sri Lanka Thrush
Barred Buttonquail Brown-headed Barbet Indian Thrush
Indian Stone-curlew Yellow-fronted Barbet Indian Robin
Great Stone-curlew Crimson-fronted Barbet Oriental Magpie-Robin
Black-winged Stilt Coppersmith Barbet White-rumped Shama
Yellow-wattled Lapwing Brown-capped Woodpecker Asian Brown Flycatcher
Red-wattled Lapwing Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Brown-breasted Flycatcher
Grey Plover Lesser Yellownape Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher
Pacific Golden Plover Red-backed Flameback Dull-blue Flycatcher
Lesser Sand-Plover Crimson-backed Flameback Indian Blue Robin
Greater Sand-Plover White-naped Woodpecker Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush
Kentish Plover Eurasian Kestrel Kashmir Flycatcher
Ringed Plover Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot Pied Bushchat
Little Ringed Plover Rose-ringed Parakeet Jerdon's Leafbird
Pheasant-tailed Jacana Plum-headed Parakeet Golden-fronted Leafbird
Common Snipe Layard's Parakeet Thick-billed Flowerpecker
Black-tailed Godwit Alexandrine Parakeet Legge's Flowerpecker
Whimbrel Indian Pitta Pale-billed Flowerpecker
Redshank Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Purple-rumped Sunbird
Marsh Sandpiper Sri Lanka Woodshrike Purple Sunbird
Common Greenshank Ashy Woodswallow House Sparrow
Green Sandpiper Common Iora Streaked Weaver
Wood Sandpiper Marshall's Iora Baya Weaver
Common Sandpiper Large Cuckooshrike Indian Silverbill
Ruddy Turnstone Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike White-rumped Munia
Red-necked Stint Small Minivet Scaly-breasted Munia
Little Stint Orange Minivet Black-throated Munia
Curlew Sandpiper Brown Shrike Tricolored Munia
Ruff Indian Golden Oriole Forest Wagtail
Red-necked Phalarope Black-hooded Oriole Western Yellow Wagtail
Small Pratincole Ashy Drongo Grey Wagtail
Brown-headed Gull White-bellied Drongo Oriental Pipit
Little Tern Sri Lanka Drongo Blyth's Pipit
Gull-billed Tern White-browed Fantail

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Grey-headed Fish Eagle

Black Bittern

Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron
Moorhen

Grey-headed Fish Eagle

Shrika/Besra

Grey-headed Swamphen

Grey-headed Swamphen

White-breasted Waterhen

White-breasted Waterhen

Tawny-bellied Babbler

Tawny-bellied Babbler

Tawny-belied Babbler

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Sri Lanka 26.2.2017

Our penultimate day and last full day in Sri Lanka was spent at Tissa Tank in the morning which was literally on the other side of our hotel. We visited Bundala National Park in the afternoon missing the morning rush hour. This park isn't as popular with your average tourist as there are no Leopards to be found inside. One of the highlights here was the big area of lagoons/salt pans which held good numbers of waders. While most of our group we busy looking and photographing a close Osprey (our only one of the trip) I spied a rather arresting looking small wader on the other side of our 4x4's. A full summer plumaged Red-necked Stint no less! I was delighted to find this lifer for myself and what luck to find one in this stunning plumage. Red-necked Stints are supposed to be a rare winter visitor to Sri Lanka. I would imagine they are probably a little more regular in the country given that a few are probably overlooked due to being in winter plumage. Interesting none of the numerous Little Stints seen showed no hint of moulting into summer plumage. Certainly another of my own personal highlights of the trip.

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Grey Heron
Cinnamon Bittern



Cinnamon Bittern

Indian Pond Heron and Grey Heron.

Black-headed Ibis

Open-billed Stork

Little Cormorant

Indian Darter
Red-necked Stint with Little Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Whimbrel

Whimbrel

Ruff

Great Stone-Curlew

Great Stone-Curlew

Great Stone-Curlew

Great Stone-Curlew

Great Stone-Curlew

Indian Stone-Curlew

Snipe sp.

Common Sandpiper 
Common Sandpiper



Black-winged Stilt

Black-tailed Godwit

Redshank

Pacific Golden Plover

Pacific Golden Plover

Pacific Golden Plover

Pacific Golden Plover

Streaked Weaver

Weaver nest

Streaked Weaver

Clamorous Reed Warbler 

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Clamorous Reed Warbler

Black-headed Munia

Scaly-breated and Black-headed Munia

Common Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher 
Common Kingfisher



Common Kingfisher

Osprey

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark
Oriental Skylark



Oriental Skylark

Grey-headed Fish Eagle