Saturday 28 April 2012

Dotterels Part 2

Checked to see if the Dotterels were still present this evening and lo and below there was no sign of them at Aillebrack nor the 80 or so Golden Plover that they were very loosely associating with. I had a look at Truska 3km to the North and on the last scan I managed to pick up all three birds in exactly the same spot that a juvenile Dotterel along with two Buff-breasted Sandpipers were last Autumn. They seem to favour a slightly pot marked area of machair in behind some old, low grey sand dunes which was all just bare sand up to about 2000 going by aerial photography.
Away the birds showed even better today with the light being much better than the previous day. The more brightly coloured bird appeared to be the most approachable bird of the group.
John Murphy has pointed out that he had a Dotterel at Rahasane Turlough on 29th December 2001 which slipped my mind. Unfortunately this record wasn't submitted to the IRBC at the time, it would have been the second accepted county of the species.

Thursday 26 April 2012

White-tailed Eagle & Dotterels!

I finally managed to briefly see the male "Star" White-tailed Eagle today that has been knocking around inside in Roundstone Bog since 29th March. He was originally released in Killarney on 7th August 2009 and he must have visited just about every single county in Ireland at this stage. He was picked up in a bad way in November 2009 in county Sligo which may have been down to oiling by a Fulmar that he may have tried to tackle. Thankfully he was quickly and successfully released yet again and hasn't got himself into such bother since. I didn't manage to get any shots of him today as he was distant and very brief. The weather was very wet for the first half of the day.
Some information on Star below.

Aonghus came over for a look as he had just finished giving a talk nearby. While we were trying to pin down Star again I mentioned that I must check Ballyconneely again as I had that adult type Dotterel down there two years back. Less than an hour after going our separate ways I got a call from him to say he just had picked up three Dotterel down beside the golf course! The birds showed quite well from the jeep but weren't ridiculously tame either. There have now been five records of Dotterel for the small area of Truska/Aillebrack. There was only one previously accepted record of Dotterel for the county before this hot spot for the species was first checked with regularity within the last four years. They have probably being dropping into this area for a long, long time unknownst to anyone. Previous county records below.
  • One, Inishbofin, 1st June 1992.
  • Adult, Aillebrack, Ballyconneely, 23rd to 26th April 2010.
  • Juvenile, Aillebrack, Ballyconneely, 10th October 2010.
  • Juvenile, Truska, Ballyconneely, 22nd to 29th September 2011.
  • Juvenile, Aillebrack, Ballyconneely, 24th to 30th October 2011.

Monday 23 April 2012

Muckrush 22nd April 12

Headed down to Muckrush on the South East side of Lough Corrib. Highlight of the day was a nice first-summer Little Gull. I had two Little Gulls here last year during the Spring also. They've become an even scarcer species here in Galway in recent years with none at all seen this winter at the once regular spot of Nimmo's Pier.

 That's a Common Gull on the left - some size difference!

Acquiring some black on the forehead.

Plenty of duck still present including Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Pochard, Pintail, Goldeneye. At least the first four species breed here while the others are probably just hangers-on.
30 or so Whimbrel also moving through, my first this Spring.

Monday 9 April 2012

April Pier Gulls

Took a spin into Nimmo's in the hope of a Bonaparte's but there were very few small gulls about. All adults long back at the breeding colonies by this stage now. Nine first-winter, three second-winter and one adult Icelands still present along with a second-winter pseudo-Caspian and American Herring Gull (I wish!).

 Second-winter "banana-billed" Herring Gull.

 Second-winter Herring Gull

 Second-winter Herring Gull

 Second-winter Herring Gull

 Second-winter Herring Gull

 Second-winter Iceland in the foreground with two first-winter Icelands behind.

 Two first-winter Iceland Gulls

 Adult Iceland Gull

Buzzards at Lough Boora Parklands

I was back home last weekend to do a Soaring Buzzard Survey for the Irish Raptor Study Group just south of Athlone. I managed to get one bird just withing the 10km square along with 13 Kestrels and 2 Sparrowhawks. I had better views of Buzzards down at Lough Boora Parklands later.

Second calendar and adult Common Buzzard, Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly, 31st March..

Second calendar and adult Common Buzzard, Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly, 31st March..

Kestrel and adult Common Buzzard, Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly, 31st March..

Adult Common Buzzard, Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly, 31st March..

Adult Common Buzzard, Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly, 31st March..

Friday 6 April 2012

Falcated Duck

Made it back up to Cross Lough again yesterday after finsihing up work nearby and managed to catch up with the Falcated Duck. It spent all its time feeding out in the centre of the lake with Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Scaup so I could only manage these record shots. Stunning looking bird wherever it came from.