Tuesday 2 December 2014

Ring-billed Gulls

Some shots of two of three Ring-billed Gulls at Nimmo's Pier last Sunday, taken very low light levels late in the evening. There was an adult also present at the same time.
There has been another huge feeding frenzy of gulls between Galway Docks and in towards Oranmore over the last week or more now. The numbers at Nimmo's Pier appeared to be average but there are several thousand Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls further east. They appear to be feeding on Sprat-type fish similar to the feeding frenzy which took place only a few miles west of here in November which included big numbers of Gannets, Kittiwakes and a great selection of skuas. I saw none of these species in this current feeding frenzy however. Instead the gulls were joined by large numbers of Cormorants, Shags, Grey Herons and Little Egrets. I counted 55 Little Egrets along the coastline between Ballyloughaun and Roscam Point at one point. There could well have been two or three times of egrets involved along the entire stretch.
I also had two first-winter Glaucous, one first-winter Iceland and an adult Yellow-legged Gull mostly on the Roscam side of Oranmore Bay on Saturday. I've been watching gulls in Galway since 1999 and this is only the second Yellow-legged Gull I've seen here. I've seen twice that amount of Laughing Gulls here in comparison!
On another note Aonghus O'Donaill has seen an interesting Hen Harrier type beside Lough Corrib twice now in the last week or so. I managed to get distant views of it perched on Sunday. It looks incredibly orange on the underparts with no visible streaking. Northern Harrier seems like a possibility but without some decent shots its going to be very difficult to clinch.
One record shot of an adult male Hen which was also present on the same day. This winter seems to be a much better winter for harriers on the Corrib with at least four present and also a wintering Marsh Harrier.

First-winter Ring-billed Gull, Nimmo's Pier, 30th November 2014.
First-winter Ring-billed Gull, Nimmo's Pier, 30th November 2014.

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull, Nimmo's Pier, 30th November 2014.

Unusual Little Egret with bright pink bill and all mustard coloured legs, Ballyloughaun, 30th November 2014.
Adult male Hen Harrier, Lough Corrib, 30th November 2014.

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