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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Iceland Gull, DIngle

First-winter Iceland Gull, Dingle Harbour, 31st January 2012 (M.O'Clery). One of six Iceland Gulls present, along with a single first-winter Glaucous Gull.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Glaucous Gull, Fahamore

First-winter Glaucous Gull (feeding on a dead seal pup), Fahamore, 30th January 2012 (M.O'Clery).

Leucistic Bar-tailed Godwit

Leucistic Bar-tailed Godwit, Fahamore, early September 2011 (Ian Jones).
 A few birdwatchers have seen and commented on this striking bird since it first appeared at Fahamore (opposite Spillane's pub, north of Castlegregory) in early September of 2011. It was present there, or at nearby Scraggane beach, until early October and was then seen briefly at the estuary at Cloghane (about 10km to the W) in mid-October. There was a further sighting back at Fahamore in early December before it was seen again on 28th January 2012, at Camp Beach in Tralee Bay (10km to the E).

See also HERE for photos of a similar bird in Sligo in December 2004.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Mediterranean Gull

Adult Mediterranean Gull at Tarbet, 28th January 2012 (John Murphy).

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tree Sparrows

Tree Sparrows at The Cashen, 27th January 2012 (D.Farrar).

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

New Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre

The new Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre should be open by the end of March 2012, and includes a number of water-based and nature activities. From a birding perspective, it is difficult to guage the future value in terms of birdwatching. The main boating and angling ponds might draw in a few gulls and wildfowl, and the small area of wetland to the north and west of the viewing tower might be attractive to birds. The hide at the far west end of the Centre will hopefully give good views over the mudflats and saltmarsh of Blennerville. For an overview of the project, you can download this PDF file HERE. If we hear more, we'll let you know. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Lesser Scaup

Male Lesser scaup, Lough Gill, Castlegregory, 17th January 2012 (D.Farrar). 

Gulls at Dingle

Iceland Gulls, Dingle Harbour, 23rd January 2011. Five Iceland Gulls were present at Dingle Harbour, including the Kumlien's-type (centre) which has been present since late December 2011. Two first-winter Glaucous Gulls were also present (Videograbs: M.O'Clery).

Common Cranes

The three adult Common Cranes at Ardfert are proving elusive and quite mobile in the fields west of Ardfert, only occasionally allowing anything like a close approach. 24th January 2012 (Ed Carty).

Monday, 23 January 2012

Common Cranes

3 adult Common Cranes, near Ardfert, 23rd January 2012 (David O'Connor).

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Grus grus

Common Cranes were at Ardfert in the early morning but were elusive! Crane footprints, 21st January 2012 (Davey Farrar).

There have been only six records of Common Crane in Co. Kerry, as follows: 
1, Tralee Bay (shot), in 1826.
2, Derrynane Bay November 1851 (1 shot).
5, Ballinskelligs Bay November 1851 (1 shot).
1, shot at an unknown location in Kerry, present October to February 1940-41.
1, near Ardfert, February and March 2003.
The record of this flock of three occurred in almost the exact area of the 2003 record 
(with thanks to Ed Carty for additional info).

Friday, 20 January 2012

Purple Sandpipers

Purple Sandpipers, near Killshannig, November 2011 (Davey Farrar).

Purple Sandpipers, Rough Point, 16th January 2012 (Michael O'Clery).

Despite an extensive rocky coastline, Purple Sandpipers are scarce or even rare in Co. Kerry away from the main wintering grounds around the Magharees. Here, counts of 40 or more are regular, with 70 seen in November 2011 - the highest count there for several years. Away from the Magharees area, the recent Atlas results show only a few records around Tarbert and Black Rock just to the east, and a few in Smerwick Harbour at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. No birds have been recorded recently from the Kenmare Bay or Waterville areas where large areas of habitat would seem to be suitable. Small flocks sometimes linger around Rough Point and on Illauntannig island well into May.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher (with a Sanderling), Fahamore, 16th January 2012 (Ed Carty).

Long-billed Dowitcher, Fahamore, 16th January 2012 (Ed Carty).
After being absent for two months, the bird has been seen for two consecutive days now, at mid to low tide, on the beach across from Spillane's Pub.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher, Fahamore,13th January 2012 (David O'Connor).
This bird was found originally on 18th November 2011, seen for just two hours in terrible weather. The bill appeared relatively short, and the bird was feeding on the coast alongside Sanderling and Bar-tailed Godwits (in most of the wintering areas in Central and south America, Short-billed Dowitchers tend to be coastal whereas Long-billeds are more often on brackish or freshwater habitats). Despite much searching during the following days and weeks it was not seen again, leaving lingering doubts that it might have been a Short-billed. However, it re-appeared on the same beach nearly two months later, when the above photos finally clinched the identification as a Long-billed. As Killian Mullarney commented, "The dowitcher appears to be a first-winter, with retained juvenile greater coverts and tertials. The plain grey-brown nature of these feathers, lacking internal markings of any kind, indicate that it is a Long-billed; on bill-length (shortish) it is probably a male. Other plumage features such as the more brownish than clean greyish upperparts and the apparently rather dark centres to the winter scapulars lend support to the ID as Long-billed." This is first record for the Dingle Peninsula, the 14th for Kerry, and the first in the county since one at Blennerville in October 2005.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Glaucous Gull, Black Rock

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Black Rock, 11th January 2012 (David O'Connor).

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Glaucous Gulls, Cromane

Second winter Glaucous Gull, Cromane, 8th January 2012 (Seamus Enright).

Adult Glaucous Gull, Cromane, 8th January 2012 (Seamus Enright).
The current influx of 'white-winged' gulls includes over 20 Iceland Gulls, around six Glaucous Gulls, a Kumlien's Gull and a Kumlien's/Iceland Gull (see HERE) in Kerry in the past three weeks or so. Adult Glaucous and Iceland Gulls are striking birds, though perhaps surprisingly, this Glaucous is only the 18th adult ever seen in Kerry. Although there must be at least some duplication or overlapping of records, there are a total of 374 Iceland Gulls recorded in Co. Kerry and 346 Glaucous Gulls. However, to date, the 18 Adult Glaucous Gulls are exceeded by the 33 adult Iceland Gulls (info courtesy of Ed Carty).

This striking adult Glaucous Gull, seen at Dingle Harbour in March 2003, was notably large, therefore presumably a male, and close to Great Black-backed Gull in size (Chris Batty).

Ring-billed Gull

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Blennerville, 6th January 2012 (D.Farrar).

Friday, 6 January 2012

Black Brant

Black Brant, Castlegregory, 6th January 2012 (D.O'Connor).

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Kumlien's and Glaucous Gull

Adult Kumlien's Gull, Black Rock, 5th January 2012 (D.Farrar).

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Black Rock, 5th January 2012 (D.Farrar). A second winter Iceland Gull was also present.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Semipalmated Plover & Least Sandpiper video

Many thanks to Micheal Cowming for sending us these excellent clips. Two major rarities from autumn 2011, and not a bad days birding...

Least Sandpiper, Carrahane, Co. Kerry, 1st October 2011 (Video courtesy of Micheal Cowming).

Semipalmated Plover, Ventry, Co. Kerry, 1st October 2011 (Video courtesy of Micheal Cowming). The second Irish record.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Kumlien's Gull(?), DIngle

Second winter Kumlien's Gull(?), Milltown, Dingle Harbour, 31st December 2011 (Seamus Enright).

The Kumlien's Gull(?) (left), compared with a nearby Iceland Gull, Milltown, Dingle Harbour, 31st December 2011 (Seamus Enright). Also present was an adult Iceland Gull, the above first-winter Iceland Gull and a first-winter Glaucous Gull.

UPDATE: 2nd January 2011. There's been debate over the exact sub-specific identity of this bird and it seems to be in the overlap zone of Iceland and Kumlien's Gull, probably best left as 'Kumlien's/Iceland Gull' for the moment.