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Thursday, 12 June 2014

What is it about Whitethroats and the Kerry border?

Why is it that Whitethroats are so widespread in Ireland, yet stop just short of the Kerry border?

Take a look at the national picture on the map below... Whitethroats are breeding pretty much all over Ireland though, apart from small parts of Mayo, the stand-out blank area on the distribution map is pretty much the whole of Kerry.

Why would it be that at several spots in east Kerry (e.g., Ballydesmond and Brosna), there are none on the Kerry side of the border, yet just a few miles away in Cork, in seemingly identical habitat, they are present and reasonably common?

The Atlas map of Whitethroat, with an obvious gap in Kerry.

In summer 2013 there was a refreshing change to this distribution pattern when many more Whitethroats than usual were seen in Kerry. The map below shows just how many, and hopes were high that the species had finally 'colonised' the county once and for all.

Whitethroat records for summer 2014.

Not so, it seems... Despite visiting many of the sites where breeding birds were present in 2013, Whitethroats have been largely absent this summer, so far. It seems the colonisation of the county is not complete.

Whitethroat records this summer, by 12th June 2014. 

If you see any Whitethroats in Kerry this summer, do let us know.