Monday, 19 September 2016

Rusheen Bay LBD

I happened to be passing Rusheen Lough today and since the tide was out I decided to have a look. I first had a look from the Silver Strand where the best views of small waders can be had. I went through all of the close waders and then had a quick check of the waders on the far side of the bay. In amongst a flock of Redshank I could see what appeared to be a dowitcher asleep with the roosting flock. Thankfully it woke briefly showing its head. It was facing me the whole time but I thought it was rather bright on the breast. I picked up Aonghus O'Donaill who lives quite close by and we managed to find the bird feeding along the outflow from the Barna Stream on the north side of the bay. This is the third Long-billed Dowitcher recorded at this site and all have been from the very same small area of the bay. Surprisingly Long-billed Dowitcher was the only American species of wader ever recorded at Rusheen up to today.

A while later I picked up a juvenile Baird's Sandpiper about 500 metres out in the middle of the bay. We managed to get to within 300 metres later. It was great to add another American wader to the site list. It's looking like 2016 will be a record year for the species. The best year on record was the famous wader year of 2011 with 14 records. So far I think 2016 has just about matched this and there's still plenty of time for a few more yet before the autumn is over. Rusheen is probably one of the best sites in the whole of Galway Bay for Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshank so it should really be much better for rarities. Cathal Forkan is now regularly checking the site so hopefully it should pay dividends in the next few years.

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