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Saturday, 3 November 2018

Autumn is over - Iceland Gull

It feels like autumn has now gone and whatever hope of a late 'fall' of migrants is rapidly diminishing. So, it's on to winter birding fodder of wildfowl, grebes and gull flocks. And sure enough, the first of the large winter gatherings of gulls at Rough Point today held one of the archetypal winter birds, an Iceland Gull. Put away the flip-flops and suncream. Break out the scarves and gloves.

Some of the 1500 or so gulls at Rough Point, 3rd November 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Second calendar-year Iceland Gull, Rough Point, 3rd November 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Second calendar-year Iceland Gull, Rough Point, 3rd November 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Second calendar-year Iceland Gull, Rough Point, 3rd November 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Spoonbill, by kayak

One of the best ways to view wildlife in general and birds in particular is from a kayak. Some species seem very tolerant of an approach by a human cunningly disguised as a bit of flotsam. The Spoonbill at Cromane is one such bird quite happy to have a floating birder invade its personal space, and with the flawless blue sky and windless conditions it presented quite a sight up close. Amazing looking bird.

Spoonbill, Cromane, 28th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

A stunning day for pootling around in a kayak in Castlemaine Harbour. Snow on the peaks, but almost t-shirt weather out on the water (Michael O'Clery).

This bird is in its 13th winter at this site and now, it would seem, is the longest-staying, or rather, longest-returning rarity of any kind ever in Ireland. Perhaps some of the long-lived Black Brants may have met or bettered that record but there is no way to be sure as individuals wander widely and are not necessarily identifiable year to year.

Spoonbill, Cromane, 28th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Spoonbill, Cromane, 28th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Spoonbill, Cromane, 28th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Great Crested Grebe, Castlemaine Harbour, 28th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Away from the mouth of the Shannon in North Kerry and Inner Tralee Bay, Great Crested Grebes are pretty scarce in Kerry. Even at 'Grebe Central' i.e., Sandy Bay, only singles appear in winter and then infrequently, and always heavily outnumbered by Slavonian Grebes. This is a first-winter bird with traces of the dark, juvenile neck stripes still showing. It would not be a Kerry bird though as they no longer nest in the county.

Monday, 22 October 2018

More of the Booted Warbler

 
Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

The Booted Warbler was in the same spot this morning, despite apparently ideal migration conditions overnight - clear skies and a light northerly breeze. However, as soon as the sun was up, this little gem was zipping about the place.

The first Kerry record, and the seventh for Ireland.

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Initial views this morning were largely distant. The bird is actually in this photo (above), on the wire fence just right of centre. It would disappear for long periods into the dense sedge areas in the fields, occasionally perching in the open on a fence or wire before diving back into the sedge.

Booted Warbler habitat, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery). No point looking for it in this photo... it's in the sedge.

The bird spent quite some time in the sedge in this field (above) before finally moving back into the fuchsia bank and allowing much better views. How many patches of this sedge and grass habitat are there on Irish headlands and islands? Quite a feckin' lot, I'll tell you. How much of it is regularly checked by birders? Very feckin' little, I'll tell you. If the bird chose to, it could be extremely elusive.

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 22nd October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head - First for Kerry

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 21st October (Pat McDaid).

Pat McDaid and Chris Nelms saw this bird on the fuscia garden near the end of the road on the east side of Bolus Head this afternoon. A Booted Warbler, and the first for Kerry.

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 21st October (Pat McDaid).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 21st October (Pat McDaid).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 21st October (Pat McDaid).

Booted Warbler, Bolus Head, 21st October (Pat McDaid).

Friday, 19 October 2018

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Yellow-browed Warbler, Feohanagh

Yellow-browed Warbler, Feohanagh, 15th October 2018 (Davey Farrar).

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Pied Flycatcher, Dunquin

Pied Flycatcher, Dunquin, 14th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Pied Flycatcher, Dunquin, 14th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

The white bases to the primaries can be seen here, not quite reaching the outer primaries, thus eliminating: A) Collared Flycatcher; B) Semi-collared Flycatcher; C) Atlas Flycatcher, and D) The need for a diet of champagne for the whole of the following week.

THe 43rd record for Kerry, making it just slightly rarer than Yellow-browed Warbler, one of which was also present in the same copse of Sycamores today.

Pied Flycatcher, Dunquin, 14th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Pied Flycatcher, Dunquin, 14th October 2018 (Michael O'Clery).

Sunday, 7 October 2018

AGP - Another Gank Photo

Slightly better photos of the Trabeg adult AGP. Not an easy site to approach birds, so this is going to have to do, even with the big camera lenses in action. Gorgeous bird though.

Adult American Golden Plover, Trabeg, 7th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Adult American Golden Plover with Lapwing, Trabeg, 7th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Adult American Golden Plover with Golden Plovers, Trabeg, 7th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Two AGPs in two days

 Two American Golden Plovers in Kerry over the past two days ain't too bad, especially considering the dearth of Nearctic waders in the Kingdom this autumn.

The first, a juvenile, was at Carrahane yesterday, the second, an adult, was at Trabeg today.

Juvenile American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 6th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Juvenile American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 6th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Juvenile American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 6th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

The adult at Trabeg was a striking-looking individual, with prominent white forehead and 'wrap-around' white supercilium, contrasting with a greyish, spangled back and the remnants of the summer plumage black underside taking the form of a 'summer Dunlin' black rectangle on the lower breast and belly.

These record shots don't do it justice and fall firmly into the category of 'Just about good enough to identify it by, and aren't you ashamed to be posting low quality crap shots like that on the internet?'.

Adult American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 6th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Adult American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 6th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Trabeg, 7th October 2018 (M.O'Clery).

The 49 Mediterranean Gulls at Trabeg sets a record high count for this species on the Dingle Peninsula. 55 is the county record so far, set in 2016... for details see this post HERE

Monday, 24 September 2018

Buff B and Buzzard

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Carrahane, 23rd September 2018 (Geoff Hunt).

Buzzard, Ballyheigue, 13th September 2018 (Geoff Hunt).