Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The very last Greenland White-fronted Geese of Connemara?

We came across these two Greenland White-fronted Geese about a fortnight back south of Maam Cross in amongst three Whooper Swans feeding out on open blanket bog. The species has rapidly declined here in this part of Ireland. The following is taken for Mayor Ruttledge's Birds in Counties Galway and Mayo "In April 1989 a synchronised ground and air census of the Connemara bogs located seven flocks of White-fronts, totalling 134 - 137 birds." Even at that stage the number had drastically crashed. It's quite sad to see all of these distinct flocks which used extensive areas of blanket bogs go by the wayside over the last few decades. They were often referred to as the "Bog Geese" by local people. Feral Greylags have now established themselves in some of the former Connemara haunts of the GWFs. Aonghus who covers this area which has had the last remaining flock, has seen their numbers dwindle with each passing year. He only had seven GWFs earlier in the winter and this pair most likely came from that same flock. We were saying that I should get some record shots of them as there may not be another opportunity after leave in April for Greenland...





 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Ravens on trail camera

I came across the old sheep carcass between Clifden and Letterfrack during the week, really just the two hind legs along with the pelvis. Anyway there were a few Ravens in attendance. At 1450hrs on the 13th March one of the Ravens that Irene O'Brian and I had coloured ringed (2012 at Cleggan Head?) amazingly showed up at the carcass - C6. Irene has been colouring Ravens in Mayo and Galway now for 2 or 3 years now. We're hoping to get back ringing Ravens again in the next month or so. Most Ravens have had complete clutches now for the last week or two. C6 fed on the remains for about 30 minutes.

I previously unknowingly photographed another colour ringed Raven at Omey island in late September 2012. This bird's (two shots below) colour ring also started with a C however the second digit isn't so clear unfortunately. See here http://dermotbreen.blogspot.ie/2012/10/all-quiet-on-western-front.html

I've also got some lovely video footage of the Ravens from the camera including a pair "clicking" to one another in display. You can easily tell the male from the female on account of the larger size and deeper voice of the former. I've uploaded a few videos here also of the colour ringed bird (fourth one down), other Ravens and a Hooded Crow. I also had a Fox come in one night but something spooked him (maybe my scent?) and he didn't hang about.

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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Early March Gulls


Adult Glaucous Gull, Nimmo's Pier.
 
Adult Glaucous Gull, Callow, Ballyconneely.

Adult Glaucous Gull on dead Long-finned Pilot Whale, Callow, Ballyconneely.

Long-finned Pilot Whale, Callow, Ballyconneely.
First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 1, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 1, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 1, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 1, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 1, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 2, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 2, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 2, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, bird no. 2, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.
First-winter Iceland Gull, Trá na Tobair, Ballynahown, 8th March.

Adult "argentatus" Herring Gull, Rossaveel, 8th March.

 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Wood Mouse



I came across this little guy during the week. He/she was feeding right out in the open in the middle of the day, strange to say the least. It was nearly completely oblivious to our presence. I don't think it would last too long if there was a Kestrel in the vicinity!