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Friday, 31 January 2014

Ivory Gull, 167 years waiting

Juvenile Ivory Gull, Cromane, 31st January 2014 (David O'Connor). 
Juvenile Ivory Gull, Cromane, 31st January 2014 (Davey Farrar).

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Ivory Gull, Cromane

Juvenile Ivory Gull, 30th January 2014 (Seamus Enright)

The 19th Irish record, and only the second record for Kerry after two were seen together at Blennerville 1847, one of which was shot. This record comes shortly after a long-staying individual at Tacumshin Lake in Wexford this January (though this bird is clearly a different individual, compare them with eg, these photos HERE).

Kumlien's Gulls, 10 and 11

The tenth and eleventh Kumlien's Gulls for Kerry this year.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Black Rock, 30th January 2014 (David O'Connor).

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Rossbeigh, 30th January 2014 (Kerry Birding).

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wetlands Talk, Thursday 6th, TBWC

Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre (D.McCormick).

David McCormick, Ecologist, is giving a talk in the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, Tralee next Thursday evening, 6th February 2014. The theme is 'Wetlands and Agriculture' and is part of a series of talks for World Wetlands Day. All are welcome. Entry is free.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Kumlien's no. 9, and 'Viking' Gull

Adult Kumlien's Gull, just south of the Cashen Estuary, 27th January 2014 (D. Farrar).

The ninth in Kerry so far this year.

First-year 'Viking Gull, a Herring x Glaucous Gull hybrid, just south of the Cashen Estuary, 27th January 2014 (D. Farrar).

The phrase 'butt-ugly' springs to mind.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Iceland Gulls

 First-winter Iceland Gull, 14th January 2014, TBWC.
First-wnter Iceland Gull, 21st January 2014, Reenard.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Ring-billed Gulls, Tralee

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, 24th January 2014 (Ed Carty).

Second winter Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, 24th January 2014 (Ed Carty).

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Reenard Kumlien's

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Reenard, 21st January 2014 (Kerry Birding).
Yet another, the seventh for Kerry this January.

 First-winter Kumlien's Gull and second winter presumed Iceland Gull, Reenard, 21st January 2014 (Kerry Birding).

The Iceland-type gull on the right shows a distinct grey-brown wash to the shafts of the primaries, but is overall much paler and less well marked on the wing coverts and tail than most, if not all, second year Kumlien's-types. Another view of it is shown below.

Boar Fish draws the crowd

Yesterday at Dingle, two large trawlers were transferring many tons of this small pink fish into waiting trucks. It is a Boar Fish, and was to be used to produce fish meal for salmon farms. While offloading is a much more 'sterile' operation these days, there were still a few spillages on the pier and a large gathering of gulls kept a keen eye out for an easy opportunity for lunch. Four Glaucous Gulls and two Kumlien's Gulls were in the multitudes, one of the Kumlien's (below) was a new bird to the area and, with the other new bird from Reenard three days ago, brings the Kerry total for January to eight.

One individual of the many tons of Boar Fish being offloaded at Dingle Harbour (Michael O'Clery).

A first-winter Glaucous Gull weighs in for a share of the spoils, Dingle Harbour, 22nd January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

Standing waist deep in Boar Fish, many gulls, like the Glaucous Gull above, squabbled with and tried to rob the fish from their neighbours, rather than picking one from the pile.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Dingle Harbour, 22nd January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Carrahane today

Finally, some birds that AREN'T Kumlien's Gulls... 
(though another was found today. Just warning you is all).

Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Carrahane, 22nd January 2014 (David O'Connor).

Snow Goose, Carrahane, 22nd January 2014 (David O'Connor).

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What? MORE Kumlien's Gulls?

If you are of a delicate disposition when it comes to difficut-to-identify immature gulls, perhaps best to look away now...

...or visit this website HERE.

Still with us? Ok. The previous record of five Kumlien's Gulls in Kerry in one year has just been thoroughly broken, with the addition of another at Inch – the sixth already this year – on 20th January (the fourth individual at that site), and news just in of another, possibly two more, at Reenard Pier today. Watch this space. In the meantime, two more photos of Kumlien's Gulls.

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Inch, 21st January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

A 'new' bird, with particularly well-marked tertials, and (not visible in this photo) a fairly uniformly dark brown tail band, to distinguish it from the other two.

TWO first-winter Kumlien's Gulls, Inch, 21st January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Dingle Kumlien's Gull

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Dingle Harbour, 18th January 2014 (Michael O'Keeffe).

A slightly paler and overall less well marked bird than the Anascaul/Inch bird, particularly, eg, the tips of the greater coverts and secondary coverts. 

The fourth of five Kumlien's Gulls in Kerry in recent weeks. For a sub-species which is notoriously variable in appearance, the two adults and three first-winters have been strikingly similar (see several posts below). If it weren't for good quality digital photos, they might have been considered one adult and one wandering first-winter. Could it be coincidence, or is it that the birds all originate from one small part of their range in Arctic Canada?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

More Gyr Falcon photos

You can click on any of the main images for a closer look.

White phase Gyr Falcon, Fenit, 18th January 2014 (Liam Doyle).

... and another Kumlien's Gull, at Rossbeigh

Montage of photos of two different adult Kumlien's Gulls at Inch and at Rossbeigh, January 2014 (Seamus Enright).

Slight differences in the wingtip patterning of dark grey in the primaries allowed the two birds to be differentiated. Five Kumlien's Gulls in just a few weeks in Kerry equals the record five seen in 2012.

Gyr Falcon, Fenit

White phase Gyr Falcon, Fenit, 18th January 2014 (Liam Doyle).

White phase Gyr Falcon, Fenit, 18th January 2014 (Liam Doyle).
Presumably the same bird which has been seen at several different sites in Kerry this winter. In the bottom photo it is feeding on a Curlew.

Another Kumlien's Gull at Inch

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Inch, 19th January 2014 (M.O'Clery).

Superficially similar to the bird present at Anascaul and Inch earlier in the month (see this post HERE) this individual is paler-bodied with darker brown centres to the primaries. Numbers of gulls have dropped at this site, though two first-winter Glaucous Gulls were also present.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Glaucous Gulls, Cashen

 Adult Glaucous Gull, 17th January 2014
first-winter, Glaucous Gull, 17th January 2014

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Kumlien's x2 still at Inch

Adult Kumlien's Gull, Inch, 12th January 2013 (Seamus Enright).

Numbers of gulls at Inch have dropped since yesterday (see below post) but both Kumlien's Gulls – a first-winter and this adult – were still present, along with an adult and at least two first-winter Glaucous Gulls.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Enormous gull gathering at Inch

Since the recent storms and the resultant massive swells, gulls have been gathering in ever-larger numbers along the coastal cliffs at Inch. Some 4000 were present today. Whatever the food source, there seems to be plenty of it, as hundreds of gulls wheel over certain parts of the shoreline and pluck what looks to be small brown fish, or eels from just under the surface.

Today the gull flock stretched from the NW corner of Inch beach, W along the cliffs, for about two kilometres. In total, approximately 3000 Herring Gulls were present – one of the largest ever gatherings of this species in Kerry – with another 400 or so Greater Black-backed, and several hundred more of a combination of Common, Lesser Black-backeds and Black-headed Gulls, and even a sprinkling of Kittiwakes. Among the throngs the following were also noted...

Adult Kumlien's Gull, Inch, 11th January 2014 (All photos: Michael O'Clery).

 Adult Kumlien's Gull, Inch, 11th January 2014 (Same individual as above).
This bird shows only two dark but distinct black lines on the outermost primaries and would be at the very palest of the range of Kumlien's Gull, as opposed to Iceland Gull. A similar Kumlien's Gull was seen in 2012 at Reenard (see that post HERE).

First-winter Kumlien's Gull, Inch, 11th January 2014. 
This is the same individual as was seen recently at Reenroe and Anascaul (see this post HERE).

Adult Glaucous Gull, Inch, 11 January 2014.

Adult Glaucous Gull, Inch, 11 January 2014.

Feeding frenzy – whatever the food source, the gulls were feeding voraciously along the tideline, amongst huge drifts of seaweed just under the surface. Here, a first-winter Glaucous Gull gets its share.

In total, 7 Glaucous Gulls were present (3 adults, a second winter and 3 first-winters) as well as 3 Iceland Gulls (a first-winter and 2 adults).

Friday, 10 January 2014

Black Brant, Scraggane

Adult Black Brant, Scraggane, 10th January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

Often referred to as the 'North American' race of Brent Goose, this distinctive sub-species also breeds in the extreme north-east of Siberia, north and west Alaska and north-central Canada, and spends the winter in Asia and parts of the West coast of the United States. It is also something of a rarity on the east coast of the US. This individual has been returning to Tralee Bay for several years now - truly a bird on the 'wrong' side of the world.

 Adult Black Brant, Scraggane, 10th January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).

Adult Black Brant, Scraggane, 10th January 2014 (Michael O'Clery). 

This individual often showed considerable aggression to the other geese in the flock and would not tolerate any intrusion into its' 'personal space'.

Video of the adult Black Brant, Scraggane, 10th January 2014 (Michael O'Clery).