I returned to Slyne Head yesterday to find the two Dotterel again present in the usual spot along with a few European Golden Plover nearby (no American Goldies quite yet). I headed off to retrieve the trail camera which I had put out in the marsh a few nights previously. I put it out to see if anything interesting would show up on it, who knows maybe a crake species or Solitary Sandpiper? Not surprisingly it didn't quite pan out like this but it was nice to pick up a Water Rail and a few Snipe. After checking a few other spots I returned to have another look at the Dotterel. On the way I inadvertently flushed two Pectoral Sandpipers from a very small pool in the car ruts near the surfers beach. I then noticed that there was a Peregrine sitting further along the car ruts. It flew off and as it did so it appeared to be carrying a largish bird, it couldn't be, could it? A quick search failed to find either Dotterel. I followed the Peregrine but before I could get close a farmer herding cattle flushed it. When I reached the spot at which it had been feeding I discovered a few feathers and even a lower and upper mandible. It was one of the Dotterel. I must say I was disappointed that one of these great little characters had been taken but then again this is the sort of danger that Dotterel like every other species in nature faces every day. There's been no sign of the remaining bird since and it has probably wisely moved on. It's been relatively quiet in the gardens on Slyne Head. The best have been a Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and a male Blackcap in the Trident/Ballyconneely Holiday Homes garden. The first two have been present there for over a week now.
|Dotterel scapular feathers.|
|Assorted Dotterel feathers including primaries and secondaries.|
|One of the Slyne Head gardens, this site hasn't been farmed in years which has resulted in a dense carpet of Dwarf/Western Gorse.|
|Male Blackcap doing his Black-and-White Warbler impression!|