Last year there was a great buzz about the place as a pair of WTE had successfully breed on Lough Derg on the Tipperary/Clare border. And given the fact the female bird abandoned the nest after the chicks hatched, the male did a great job of raring the young birds on his own. When both chick fledged it was amazing, the first wild White-tailed Eagles in over a hundred years were now ready to explore this little island of ours. But like many of the captive birds released during this re-introduction their path was paved with peril and danger. This comes for a small group of ignorant and thick idiots who believe these birds will kill all their lambs and sheep. So it come as no surprise to me that one of the chicks was found dead today. It was shot and left to die a cold and lonely death as the bird was badly injured but not killed out right by the person/s who shot it. I have attached a link to the story that broke on RTE News today. Please have a read and voice your concerns to our Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan. The culprit must be caught and punished to the full extent of the law if the rest of these birds are to have any hope of been safe in our skies.
While in work during the week, I received a text to say the Caspian Gull was spotted back in Tallaght so with that knowledge, and knowing the Red-necked Grebe was giving good views, my mind was made up to head out Saturday morning to get these birds. The Caspian Gull was a life and Irish tick for me and when I got to Sean Walsh park in Tallaght this morning, it took a bit of searching but I located the bird on the roof of a house. However, the bird proved flighty as it was being harassed by a Lesser Black Back Gull. I did manage a few shots which I have attached below.
After that, we headed for Dun Laoghaire and the Red-necked Grebe, which I located in the harbour by the east pier. The bird gave good but distant views and was constantly on the move. The bird was coming into summer plumage, which I have not previously seen, and to have the views I had was a joy. Also in the harbour, were plenty of Great Northern Divers. This is a bird which is normally off the south, west and north west coasts of Ireland, so to see them in high numbers off the east coast is unusual.
I've been trying to get out and about recently but with work it's been hard. There are some nice birds knocking about in Dublin and I finally got out for a few hours on Saturday. So I met up with a good friend and we headed for the Ross's Gull at Poolbeg.
This bird has been a hit and miss for a lot of the guys up here and when it does show up it only usually hangs about for 15 minutes. So we decided to do Poolbeg first and if the Red-necked Grebe was to show up we would head for it. So four and a half hours later a text came through that the Red-necked Grebe was showing well in Dun Laoghaire inside the harbour. So there was no sign of the Ross's we said we would go and get it. But before we left I made a quick call to make sure the bird was still there and to my disappointment it hand moved out of the harbour . So we stayed where we were and hung around to see if the Gull would show.
Eight and a half hours and at least 30-40 birders later there was no joy and with other engagements and the light going we had to call it a day. So picture my annoyance when I got a text 30 minutes after we left that the Ross's was after appearing and hung around for 15 minutes gave good views. So roll on Sunday morning, and not making the same mistake I made the day before I headed straight for The Red-necked Grebe. While on my way through Blackrock I received a text that the Ross's was back at Poolbeg. It was an easy decision, Ross's would be a life tick and an Irish one at that. When I got there it was out in the middle of the channel but it was giving nice views. So another new gull of the year and what a relief. In the end I didn't go for the grebe, I may do that this weekend.
2 shots of the Ross`s from last Sunday
There is still one Snow Bunting knocking about on the Bull
There are plenty of Black Guillemots about at present
For the last few months there has been an average of six Snow Bunting hanging about the beach on Bull Island. I went to see these birds back in November and was surprised to see they have hung around for so long. In saying that, there has been birds coming and going as where there were no female birds originally, they have been joined by a juvenile female now but there are still only 6 birds. So the group has changed but not the number. They have to be one of my favourites, especially the adult males, they can be so striking in appearance. I took a few snaps recently so I`ll attach them below.
On a very wet and windy Saturday morning, myself and a few friends headed up to Co. Tyrone to see the Pacific Diver that has been at Lough Fea for the past week. We were no sooner out of the car when the bird flew down towards us and landed at the other side of the lough. Within minutes, there was a large group of birders enjoying distant, but good views, of this mega bird in the early morning wind and rain.While up North, we decided to head for a trip to Oxford Island to catch up with some woodland birds. Among those seen were Jay, Redpoll, Bullfinch, all four Tit species as well as plenty of diving ducks. After that we headed towards Bangor Harbour looking for Eider, where we found 12 sitting on the water. On the way back, we encountered a Buzzard on a telegraph wire, which gave us great views. A cracking end to a cracking day.
Below the Pacific Diver in shots 1-4
Buzzard giving me the evil eye.
1 of 3 Jays present in Oxford Island Nature Reserve.
With a New Year a new Year List starts. This year has started really well with a life and Irish tick within the first month. A really mega bird has shown up in Tacumshin, Co. Wexford and has hung around giving excellent views to birders. The bird in question is an Ivory Gull. These extremely rare visitors to Ireland are normally found in the high Arctic following polar bears around to pick at their leftovers or any carrion they may find. The last record for this bird was in Baltiomore, Co. Cork a few years back, so it wasn't surprising to see a very busy Tacumshin yesterday. While down there, we decided to go looking for a Glossy Ibis that had been seen on the South Slob. After a while looking, the bird obliged us by flying into a field behind us and giving us good views, although the light was far from ideal for photography. Other birds of note I have seen this year include a Little Gull from Sutton, Co. Dublin and Mediterranean and Iceland Gulls and an Eastern Jackdaw from Tallaght, Co. Dublin. The Caspian Gull that had been seen in Tallaght in the last week remained illusive today, as for the last few days, unfortunately. Perhaps he has left the area? I hope the rest of the year continues as it has begun......