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Monday, 17 January 2022

American Coot, Ring-necked Ducks and Glossy Ibis

The Cromane area is full of rarity interest these days. An American Coot on Lough Yganavan was sharing the lake with two Ring-necked Ducks, while just a few fields away, a Glossy Ibis continues its stay. And of course, the reliable, long-staying Spoonbill is just up the road at Cromane.

American Coot, Lough Yganavan, 17th January 2022 (Cait O'Neill).

American Coot, Lough Yganavan, 17th January 2022 (Cait O'Neill).

American Coot, Lough Yganavan, 17th January 2022 (Cait O'Neill).

American Coot, Lough Yganavan, 17th January 2022 (Cait O'Neill).

Glossy Ibis, near Cromane, 15th January 2022 (Ed Carty).

Ring-necked Ducks, Lough Yganavan, 17th January 2022 (Cait O'Neill).

Friday, 3 December 2021

Goosander at Black Rock

 

Goosander, Black Rock, 1st December 2021 (David O'Connor).

Goosander, Black Rock, 1st December 2021 (David O'Connor)

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Common Tern in November? Very uncommon

There were three species of tern in Sandy Bay on Sunday last (7th November), which might well be a Kerry first for the month of November - a Black Tern, 4 Sandwich Terns, and a juvenile Common Tern.

Juvenile Common Tern, Sandy Bay, 7th October 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
Going by the records on the increasingly useful IrishBirding website (HERE) there were only 16 Irish records of Common Tern in November reported to the website in the whole of Ireland, from 2008 (including this one, the only Kerry one shown). There were 7 records of Black Tern during the same period.

Surf Scoters, Lough Gill & Smerwick Harbour

Female/juvenile Surf Scoter, Lough Gill,  29th October 2021 (Hubert Servignat).

Female/juvenile Surf Scoter, Smerwick Harbour, 8th November 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Female/juvenile Surf Scoter, Smerwick Harbour, 8th November 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
Common Scoter numbers have diminished hugely on the Dingle Peninsula in recent years. The Brandon Bay flock, which a decade ago, regularly numbered around 1500+ has fallen away to just a peak of perhaps 200 last winter. Currently, and I checked, there are 12 Common Scoter there when you might expect a four figure number. Similarly, the Inch and Rossbeigh numbers have fallen precipitously in recent years, with peaks of only 60 -100 birds in the last two winters when previously there might have been anything from  few hundred to a few thousand. I checked yesterday at Inch, and there were 6.

And of course, the much rarer Surf Scoter often associates with the Common Scoter flocks here, but it is perhaps telling that these two recent Surf Scoter individuals (yes, the Lough Gill bird and the Smerwick Harbour birds were both seen at their respective sites today, so not the same bird), were on their own, and not associating with their near-relatives, Common Scoter. It seems that Common Scoter ain't so common around here anymore.

Is this Kerry's first Arctic Redpoll?

Perhaps an Arctic Redpoll? Lough Gill, 6th November 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
I took the short walk around the back of the clubhouse at Castlegregory Golf Club to view the lake, but after just a short distance, a bird flushed from a reed stem just feet in front of me. My immediate thought was "What the hell is a Wheatear doing in a reedbed?", such was the overall greyness of the plumage and sparkling white rump of the bird now flying low away from me. A quick look in the bins as it landed just 20 feet away on another reed stem and I was in shock. It was a Redpoll, but so pale, and lacking in any warm tones, that alarm bells rang.

I tried to put the 'scope down gently, grabbed the camera, pointed, shot off a few point blank frames when... feck... the lens cap was on and the camera was off. Instead of full-frame glorious photos, I had to scramble to get the camera sorted. The Redpoll was oblivious to my quietly frantic activity, but flew slightly further along the track. I managed these three photos, here, cropped, but otherwise unedited. Then the bird took off over my head towards the large earth embankment by the clubhouse.

The best of the three photos, showing most of the features of an Arctic Redpoll, Lough Gill, 6th November 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
I went straight there and had just laid eyes on it again - this time with 5-6 Linnets - when they all took off. The Redpoll circled a while, separated from the Linnets, and headed out of view, seeming to drop somewhere in the reeds nearby. That was it. Despite looking for days after. I put bird seed along the track and on the embankment in the hope of drawing it back. Didn't work. Gone. Frustratingly brief.

So, what was it? The paleness was striking. The white-looking rump also, so striking, and the photos showed a few other features I didn't get to see through the bins.

So is it an Arctic Redpoll? Lough Gill, 6th November 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
The jury is out. Still trying to figure out is there enough info in these three photos to claim it as an Arctic Redpoll. Perhaps not, but if the experts do come back with confirmation, the champagne corks will fly. We'll see.

Photographer Nerd Extra: With the suddenness of the birds appearance and the rapidity with which I tried, clumsily, to get the camera to bear, it was only later that I was able to gauge the camera settings on those three photos. Was the exposure way up, making it look paler that it actually was? Here's a screengrab of the levels (they were actually pretty good, and the EXIF info, showing it was 1/3 over-exposed. Not a lot. The paleness was real, and not a photo effect. Bit of a relief, seeing as my eyes were telling me that already.


Friday, 5 November 2021

Semipalmated Plover at Black Rock - second Kerry record

Semipalmated Plover, Black Rock, 28th October 2021 (David O'Connor).
Only the second record for Kerry,

Semipalmated Plover (left bird), Black Rock, 28th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Semipalmated Plover, Black Rock, 28th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Semipalmated Plover, Black Rock, 28th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Semipalmated Plover, Black Rock, 28th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Semipalmated Plover (centre bird), Black Rock, 28th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

 

Saturday, 16 October 2021

American Golden Plover and Surf Scoter

 

Juvenile Americian Golden Plover with Golden Plovers, Carrahane, 12th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Adult male Surf Scoter, Banna Strand, 12th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Dark-bellied Brent, Carrahane, 12th October 2021 (David O'Connor).

Friday, 1 October 2021

Quiet out west, but Red-backed Shrike still delights

 A cold, blustery, showery day on the headlands out west today resulted in hardly any migrants being seen, but the beautiful male Red-backed Shrike continues to delight, despite disappearing for the morning.

Red-beacked Shrike, Bolus Head, 1st October 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Red-beacked Shrike, Bolus Head, 1st October 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Great White Egret on the Fertha estuary

 

Great White Egret, Fertha Estuary, Caherciveen, 30th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
Found by Hubert Servignat today, this is the 15th record for Kerry.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

White-tailed Eagle and impressive supporting cast

 

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle, Fertha Estuary, Caherciveen, 29th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).
A good day 'out wesht', with this juvenile White-tailed Eagle and an adult Spoonbill at the Fertha Estuary near Caherciveen, and the continuing presence of the adult male Red-backed Shrike and a Lesser Whitethroat on Bolus Head.

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle, Fertha Estuary, Caherciveen, 29th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Red-backed Shrike, Bolus Head, 29th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Red-backed Shrike, Bolus Head, 29th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Lesser Whitethroat, Bolus Head, 29th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).

Lesser Whitethroat, Bolus Head, 29th September 2021 (Michael O'Clery).