Friday, 27 December 2013

Starling Murmuration

I was home over the Christmas and decided to catch up on a couple of local sites. With things being pretty quiet, I decided to go look for the Starling Murmuration which has been outside Croom for the last few years. I stood around for a while where I had seen the murmuration previously, and within 20 minutes, the birds started to gather and the flock grew and grew until I had an estimated 60k birds doing their sky dance. It is such an awe inspiring site to see so many birds twist and turn and fly in their masses with such precision. So if you happen to be around Croom in the next few months, it's well worth a look. I have attached a 6 minute video (taken at some distance by hand) below. It won't win any wildlife awards, but you'll get the picture!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Yellow-legged Herring Gull?

As I was out and around Howth today I decided to have a quick look through the gulls hanging around the local fish factory. There was one gull of interest and that bird was a very possible Yellow-legged Herring gull. Please see the comment from Birdwatch Irelands Niall T Keogh below. If anyone one else has a view on this bird please leave a comment below as as I would be very interested to read them. The bird was sheltering with a group of Herring gulls on the roof of the fish factory. This particular bird had a silver leg ring on the right leg.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

littoralis Rock Pipit

I am snowed under these days, so my birding days out are few and far between with. Lately I have only been able to get an hour here and an hour there so it is near impossible to cover any good birding areas. However there is one or two places nearby that have a good chance of holding something unusual, and one place is Howth. There is good numbers of gulls that hang around the local fish factory as well as the harbour which always has the likes of grebes and divers. But the east pier has one of the best chances of hiding a little gem. Water Pipit has shown up here in the past so it is always worth checking them. There wasn't many pipits about today but as I was about mid-way along the pier, I spotted a rock pipit, but it was paler than normal and on closer inspection I was right to pick up on it as it turned out to be a littoralis Rock Pipit. This is the second bird of this year for me with the previous one being back in March at Bull Island. I also had 1 Snow Bunting which was flushed by a dog and its walker and 7 Purple Sandpipiers.

 littoralis Rock Pipit above and below.

Purple Sandpipier, 1 of 7 birds present.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

3 good birds in 24 hours

Things have been busy for me as of late and I have had very little time to update my blog. So instead of going back the last few months I'll just skip ahead to the last 24 hours. With the winds coming from the east there has been a lot of birds showing up this last week or so we would only see in spring. With plenty of twitches to be had I just seemed to be working when the good birds were around. So I had to be back in Limerick last Sunday and decided to hit the old local haunts. I took a trip to Coonagh but no sooner did I arrive when 2 duck hunters put everthing up and there was nothing left to see except a pair of kestrels doing some hunting of their own. So I made a decision to hit Loop Head and see what was around. I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted a pair of Buff-breasted Sandpipers. The birds had been flushed but flew over me a couple of times giving me the chance to make out their buff bellies, the speckled marking on side of the breast, white underwings, and thier rather soft (or as I like to call it kind) facial feature.  Within 5 minutes of having them I spotted a bird on a small pathway in front of me, with a quick look through the bino's my heart skipped a beat! A life tick and in Ireland as well... it was a Wryneck, a bird I have wanted for a while now. So I managed to get a few shots of it and was well pleased with the views I had of it and I went back to Dublin a happy man. Then roll on this morning, there was a Hoopoe knocking around Howth for the last 4 days and I didn't have an Irish Hoopoe so when I was given the chance of seeing it I jumped at it. The bird was unable to settle for any length of time as it was being badly harassed by both Magpies and Hooded Crows. I did manage a couple of shots and had several views of the bird. So it was an interesting 24 hours. Roll on tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Lots and lots of Moths

Given the nice weather lately I decided to do a bit of moth trapping.With a nice selection about and some new moths for me (wouldn't be hard as I only started last year) I manage to get a few shots of them before releasing them back to the wild. I also learned that not all moths hide in your trap, as I found a few under the furniture. All moths trapped were done so under license and released without harm.

 Peach Blossom Moth
 The Drinker Moth
 True Lover's Knot Moth
 Broad-barred White Moth
 Buff Ermine Moth
 Light Brown Apple Moth
 The Uncertain Moth
 White Ermine Moth
 Brimstone Moth
 Buff Arches Moth
 Common Emerald Moth
 Garden Pebble Moth
 Grey Dagger Moth
 Small Fan Foot Moth
Willow Beauty Moth

Monday, 8 July 2013

At last! An Irish Cattle Egret tick!!

Since I took up birdwatching I learned that there are some birds that will become your bogey birds, as in you'll try and find them, and you know they are there because some other birder had it the day before, but when you go for it you just can't seem to find it. Now this might not be your fault as the bird might have moved on or it could be simply hiding and doesn't re-appear until you're gone. Cattle Egrets were one of the birds that did this to me on several occasions. I had them abroad  but never here. So when one showed up in Donegal on the 11th of December last year I couldn't make it up as I was out of action with my ankle. So thinking my chance was gone I just marked it down as another Cattle Egret that escaped me. But no it hung around and started to be reported close to where it had been originally seen, and today was going to be my day. I got to Porthall at around 2pm and there it was bold as brass, cock of the walk, following a large herd of cattle around feeding on the grubs and other insects the cattle were stirring up. Today was a great day for me, I love getting Irish ticks like this bird and to have one in summer plumage as well made it even sweeter.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Redshank of the Spotted kind

I saw that there had been a summer plumage Spotted Redshank in Broadmeadows estuary not too far from where I was and given it would be a year tick I decided to go look for it. It didn't take long for me to find it mixed in with a flock of common Redshanks as the dark colour of the bird made it easy. However it was very weary and kept a good distance away making it hard to get any decent shots. However it did give great views and rarely disappeared out of sight for long. Still nice to get a summer plumage bird as we mostly get winter plumage birds here.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

What Bugs you!!

I had a look around over the last couple of weeks to see if there was any Dragonflies or Damselflies about given that the birds were late, I thought they may also be late. And sure enough they were with my first Dragonfly coming last weekend. So with the lack of dragons and damsels I took to snapping other little creatures. One that I love and have seen on a number of occasions is the Zebra Spider. These spiders hunt by sight and looking at the size of its eyes I see why. Other insects of interest  were the Rosemary Leaf Beetles in a patch near by. These beetle were first recorded in the Rep of Ireland last year. It is thought that these beetle arrived in lavender plants imported to Ireland . Also snapped was a Donacia thalassina or Reed Beetle out hunting in a pond in Offaly as well as a Blue-tail Damselfly, a Variable Dameslfly and a  Burnet Companion all in Offaly.

Blue-tailed Damselfly
 Burnet Companion
 Four Spotted Chaser
 Reed Beetle
Variable Damselfly
 Light Brown Apple Moth
Rosemary Leaf Beetle
Zebra Spider

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Some Distant Birds

I was around the east of Ireland recently as its a great place for a strange birds to drop in. When I was there  the weather didn't help, the winds were from the west and given the time of year it was all wrong!! In saying that I did manage Woodchat Shirke, Bonaparte's Gull, Marsh Harrier and Pectoral Sandpiper as well as long-tailed Duck and Continental Cormorant. However all birds were distant! so the shots weren`t the best. So here are the best of a bad bunch!!!

 Pec Sands
 Woodchat Shrike
 Marsh Harrier
Hen Harrier, this one dropped in to Lingstown and then drift straight back out.