Thursday, 5 November 2015

Black Reds & GWF's

A selection of different species from the last fortnight or so. I had two Black Redstarts on the roofs of the Trident Ballyconneely Holiday Homes on Monday. These are actually the first "Black Reds" I've seen at Slyne Head. The last record for Slyne comes from 1893! The species has always been relatively scarce compared to the south of Ireland and even adjacent county Clare. While like many scarce species, records have increased during the last decade or so, they are still years where none are recorded at all.

I was delighted to see a flock of 23 Greenland White-fronted Geese flying into Mannin Bay near Ballyconneely on 27th October. They were flying east just offshore presumably after following the coastline south. When I last saw them they were heading into Roundstone Bog but I doubt they stopped. Sad to say that these were the very first "GWFs" I've seen in my ranger area since I started in 2008. Historically there were several different flocks in what is my area (west of Maam Cross). Roundstone Bog held one of the last remaining flocks up until around the late 1990's. All gone now. There is (was?) only one flock numbering in the single figures left in Connemara which I've written about previously I suspect this flock may have been heading onto Rahasane Turlough. I had a flock of 15 birds there on 24th October and this had increased to exactly 50 birds on 1st November. Nice to see around three pairs with juveniles although there were 60 there last winter. The results from 2014/2015 International Census of Greenland White-fronted Geese was only just recently published. The long-term future of Greenland race of White-fronted Geese doesn't appear all that great in contrast to most geese species.The full report can be seen at the link below and I've pasted the summary here.

The global population of Greenland White-fronted Geese in spring 2015 comprised 18,854 individuals, a very sharp 9.6% reduction on 20,797 in the previous spring. This is the first time the population has fallen below 20,000 individuals since 1985. Half of the decline could be accounted for by the loss of 1000 geese on Islay between years, and another 500 from elsewhere in Britain; 10,266 were counted in Ireland, 8,588 were counted in Britain. Reproductive success was very low at only 6.1% in Ireland, but 12.9% in Britain.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Slyne Head.

1st win male Black Redstart, Slyne Head.

1st win/ad female Black Redstart, Slyne Head.

Reed Bunting, Slyne Head
Reed Bunting, Slyne Head
Icelandic Redwing, Slyne Head.

Greenland White-fronted Geese, Mannin Bay.

Greenland White-fronted Geese, Mannin Bay.

Greenland White-fronted Geese, Mannin Bay.
Greenland White-fronted Geese, Rahasane Turlough.
Great White Egret, Rahasane Turlough.


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