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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Request for sightings: Whitethroat

The first Whitethroat of the year has been seen in Kerry, on 20th April (see below). Following record numbers last year, we are hoping that this colourful warbler will become a regular feature of the Kerry landscape, so if you hear a fast, scratchy warble anywhere in the Kingdom this spring and summer, check for Whitethroat. The only other similar song is that of the Blackcap which, though similar in tone, is a good deal slower, and Blackcaps favour more wooded terrain whereas the Whitethroat is more of an 'open country' species, usually seen in and around open scrub and young woodland or well-developed hedgerow.

The final map of Whitethroat distribution for 2013. In most recent years there have been fewer than 5 records annually. There were 28 in 2013.

Whitethroat, near Brosna, 20th April 2014 (Davey Farrar).

Please let us know if you see or hear one this summer and we will map them, as we did last year. See a post on the 2013 occurrences Whitethroat on this page HERE.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

White Wagtails and more at Black Rock

White Wagtail, Black Rock, 17th April 2014 (David O'Connor).

Littoralis Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 17th April 2014 (David O'Connor).

psammodroma Ringed Plover, Black Rock, 17th April 2014 (David O'Connor).

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Iceland Gull, TBWC

Iceland Gull, Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre (David O'Connor).

Friday, 11 April 2014

Monday, 7 April 2014

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Plumes and plumage

Little Egrets, Castlemaine Harbour, 4th April 2014 (MIchael O'Clery)

Little Egrets are worth a second look at this time of year as their plumage is now at its most impressive. The fine 'aigrettes', or plumes, on the breast and mantle can be seen well here (click on the photos for a closer look), and they have two elongated feathers extending from the crown.You can also see here the lores are pink instead of the usual grey, this area flushed with colour for just a few weeks each year when courtship is at its height.

Friday, 4 April 2014

'psammodroma' Ringed Plovers

Small, dark Ringed Plovers, possibly of the Arctic race psammodroma, Black Rock, 3rd April 2014 (David O'Connor). There were two individuals present.

The race psammodroma is somewhat contentious. According to HBW, the populations of the race range from from Canada to the Faeroe Islands but have been based on extremely minor differences in average size, and are generally not accepted nowadays.

These darker birds, whatever subspecies they might be, are certainly distinctive in the field.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Spring is springing

Little Egret colony, Castlemaine Harbour, 1st April 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

The Grey Herons at this colony are already nesting, probably with eggs not far off hatching. The egrets nest in the same clump of trees but nest much later. They are now just at the nest building and renovating stage.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Med. Gull, Black Rock

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Black Rock, 31st March 2014 (David O'Connor).