Saturday, 14 October 2017

Red-eyed Vireo Inishmore 2017

Back from my annual October trip to Inishmore. Thankfully there were a up to seven other birders out on the island vary in stay from one to five days. Things got off to a good start when Alex Ash found a juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs on the first day 5th October, more on that in a following post.

Two days later I began my day up at the extreme west side of the island as I usually do at Bun Gabhla village. I scanned the mixed Willow/Fuchsia/Bramble/Ivy patch for a few minutes but didn't see anything of note. I then walked in closer to the Willows and began to give a short blast of Red-eyed Vireo and Blackcap alarm calls through my small speaker, still nothing. After a while I left the patch and headed up the road to check a nearby patch of Brambles. After this I was passing by the original patch and gave it one last check and quickly picked up a grey warbler type making its way through the Willows. My initial thoughts were Lesser Whitethroat. Thankfully it hopped out into the open onto Brambles and revealed itself to be a Red-eyed Vireo! Rain quickly came in so I decided to round up the troops. I brought out my car out the island for the week as we were based halfway up the island at Gort na gCapall. The car made life a lot easier in the evening when going for pub food and generally getting round the fifteen kilometre long island.
The vireo proved to be rather elusive for the next few hours but when the rain stopped and the sun came out the bird became much more active. It remained until the following day when I managed to obtain these shots. It was particularly active on the second day and seemed to be easily getting food amongst the vegetation. It also flycatched by flying vertically up into the air after flying insects.

This is the fifth county record, all coming from Inishmore and Inishbofin. Previous records as follows;
One, Inishmore, Aran Islands, 3rd 1995 (Tony Mee)
One, Inishmore, 15th and 16th October 2000 (Sean Doherty).
One, Inishbofin, 26th and 27th September 2005 (Steve Dodgson).
One, Inishbofin, 29th September to 3rd October 2016 (Anthony McGeehan).

This wasn't the end of the story with Red-eyed Vireo however. During the last few hours on the island on 11th October John Murphy and myself decided to give Kilronan Woods one last look before heading back to the house to pack up and leave the island. Hugh Delaney had a calling Yellow-browed Warbler earlier in the day in the woods. While looking for the YBW John had a Red-eyed Vireo fly across the pathway and land only metres away from him in a Sycamore. I managed to see it with him a minute later in the same tree. It then disappeared for a few minutes. I then had it in an Ash tree and subsequently John had had it in an Ivy-clad Sycamore. Despite coming onto the scene in rapid order Hugh missed the bird and it was never seen again. We all left the island shortly afterwards at 1700hrs. Unfortunately both John and myself didn't have our cameras with us when we first had the bird and it proved too quick for us in the subsequent sightings.
There's already been one REV in County Kerry and two in County Cork so far this Autumn.

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