Friday, 3 May 2013

I'm going Cuckoo

There is a Cuckoo knocking about on Bull Island at present so I headed there early this morning for a look. It was difficult to pin down but I finally found it hiding out in the long grass. This is the earliest I've had cuckoo in Ireland and it was also a year tick which was nice. I watch it for around an hour as it did a bit of nest searching and it was the meadow pipits that this particular cuckoo was interested in. It checked at least 4 nest sites out while I was there and it was also feeding on what looks to be black caterpillars. So another one off the year list. Nice!


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

More LBJ's

LBJ's meaning Little Brown Jobs is a term birders use to describe any small brown looking bird i.e Warblers Pipits and so on. So it is only normal this term comes into use at this time of year as there is a large influx of small warblers, pipits and larks.  Two of which I had today, Sedge Warbler and White-throat. You can be forgiven for calling them a lbj if you don't get a proper look at them as they are both quite difficult to see. They have a habit of skulking around in the under growth and when they do appear they will take off at speed and dive straight into another bush or hedge. But when they sing, well there no mistaken them. I love both their calls as they remind me summer is up and running, even though some may say they only have a scratchy song I say it's still music to my ears.

 Sedge Warbler in song.
 Now contemplating the idea of going skulking.
 So nearly a good shot of a White-throat except for that twig.
A second white-throat in the same bush as the Sedge Warbler.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Howth Head

I spent a couple of days out with a few fellow birders around Howth Head and on Bull Island recently in search of migrants which were arriving. There was quite a few Grasshopper Warblers about as well as Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Wheatears, Blackcaps, Stonechats, Linnets, Ripits, Wrens, Great, Blue and Coal Tits as well as the usual suspects.  Sea Birds along the cliffs included Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shags and just across the bay on Irelands Eye you have Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills, Gulls and a few Puffins. Of course with all these birds about you know there must be predators around and sure enough there was with Hooded Crows, Raven, Pereguine, Kestrel and Buzzard all on the look out for an easy meal. A short drive away and you have Bull Island with plenty of summer plumage waders about, and at the northern point of the island there was a small gathering of Common and Sandwich Terns while a quick look out at the bay produced 12 Red-throated Divers, several Black Guillemots and a large flock of Red-breasted Mergansers. So plenty to see and nice to get out and about. Here are a few shots I got over the last few days.

Grasshopper Warbler in song
 This Gropper was answering the one above.
 A raven on the prowl.
 Like nearly all the birds seen this Willow Warbler was in song.
 Rock Pipit (Ripit)
 So many wrens about I had to snap one at least.

 This Linnet was sporting some nice pinks and reds.
 Dunlin and Ringed Plovers on the Bull.
A small gathering of Sandwich Terns, 6 of the 11 here are sporting metal leg rings.