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Monday, 24 April 2017

Little Ringed Plovers and Avocet

This last weekend has thrown Dublin 3 nice birds. Broadmeadows in Swords always gives you a nice bird or two ever year and this was no exception as not one but two Little Ringed Plovers were picked out from a mass of Godwits, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sands, Dunlin and so on by 2 great birders AGK and Niall Griffin. I got up the following day and got to see both birds. Distant but they gave excellent views and always a joy to see them. I also had a bit of luck while checking one of my own stomping grounds. Within seconds of getting out of the car I had picked out an Avocet. This is a Dublin first for me as well as as being a first ever Avocet found by myself in Ireland. I have two other recorded Avocet sightings in Ireland (Co Wexford and Co Louth) but they were found by other birdwatchers, so making my Dublin bird all the more sweeter given the little amount of birding I'm actually getting done these day. So a cracking weekend all around.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Wexford a given at anytime.

I am restricted in my birding these days due to family commitments and an on going injury I have so to get out birding at any stage is a bonus. I had a day and a half to spend on my own recently so I had to go to Wexford and visit the wildfowl reserve. It is a special place and one of the best to see wintering wildfowl. The pick of the birds there had to be the Canada Goose (Very distant but good views through the scope) the Bewick Swans also gave excellent views as did a Water Rail swimming across the pond below the tower hide. There was plenty of other Geese on view as well with Barnacle, Greylag (in their thousands) Brent (also in their thousands) and a few Pink footed Geese. Out in the bay there was some views of Slavonian, Little and Great Crested Grebes and a nice view of a Kingfisher. While in land Tacumshin never fails to throw up the odd (or not so odd) rarity as in the Long Billed Dowitcher and Lapland Buntings all good for the year list. Just down the road at Tomhaggard I got to see and photo some of the 6 cattle Egrets that were feeding around the cattle at the back of the hideout pub. The birds of prey gave in a showing as well with Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel and 2 Peregrine Falcons (one of which looked huge) all give lovely views. I will be back again and again as you could never trier of this place. On my way back I stopped at Dun Laoghaire to have a look and got lovely views of a Black Redstart (I also had one in Rosslare Euro Port) and some Med Gulls. So happy out so far this year.

                                         Bewicks feeding in the Wildfowl Reserve

                                         Buzzard being mobbed by a Crow
                                         The Black Redstart from Dun Laoghaire

                                         Cattle Egret in Flight

                                         Cattle and Little Egrets feeding in around the Cows.
                                         Sunrise over the river Slaney.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


When I heard there was a Firecrest not too far from where I dwell these days, I had to go and see it. It would not only be an Irish tick but a lifer as well. I set out Saturday morning after I recived a call from a friend informing me that it was showing at the moment. Even in the rain and wind this was a special bird to see let alone get a few shots of. So Another tick for this year and heres to plenty more.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Every Rose must fade

Last week a fellow birder was out and about in Howth looking for Little Auk when he stumbled across a first winter Rose Coloured Starling. These birds are normally found down in Turkey but we get 1 to 2 birds every year. These birds are victims of stormy weather and end up making land fall where every they can. I had never seen a Juvenile bird so I headed out the next day to see if it was still around. Sure enough after a bit of looking I located the bird close to where it was first found. it was feeding on its own. A dog put the bird up and I was able to relocated it on the rocky shore at the base of the east pier. Here it was feeding with a small flock of Common Starling.  I took a few shots and left the bird in peace.

The next few days it was spotted several times in around the same area. So at the end of the week I got a call from a friend that he was going to look for the bird on Sunday and asked if i would come along. I thought why not, it would be interesting to see how it was getting on. We check several different spots but couldn't located the bird. We had the Black Redstart I found several weeks earlier and a few Chiffchaffs but the bird wasn`t to be seeing feeding with the other Starlings. The next thing you know, Brian says there it is, I looked at the bird Brian was pointing at and I had to take a second look. The week in Ireland and the cold cold weather had taken its toll on this poor little bird. My heart sank when it staggered towards us. It was unkept looking, a bit hobo like, this bird was on the brink and there was nothing we could do. I took a few shots as a reference to see if the difference was that bad. The bird wasn`t seen after that day so I presume the cold frosty night on Sunday finished him off.

                    This was the last time I saw the bird, It didn`t look well at all.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Howth Black-Redstart

Given the amount of Black Redstarts that were spotted around the coast of Ireland I decided to head out to Howth in County Dublin last Tuesday as I felt one may show up there . It has been a good spot for these little birds in the past and sure enough it payed off this time. I had a Black Redstart within minutes of looking. It was a bit flightly but this was down to the 20 or so Rock Pipits that were squabling over the many flies that were about. Also there were the resident Stonechats, Grey Wagtail and a few Chiffchaff. One Chiffchaffs was a grey brown and its call was different to the rest, but the bird was very sculky so I was unable to get a shot of it to my fustration. This is the second time I have been robbed for a sibs chiff. Oh well maybe the next time.