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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Four Twite at Scraggane

Two Twite (leftmost and third from left, with Linnets), Scraggane, 7th February 2015 (Kilian Kelly).

Four Twite (second, third, fourth and fifth birds from the left), with Chaffinch and Linnets, Scraggane, 7th February 2015 (Kilian Kelly).

Twite probably no longer breed in Kerry, with the last proven breeding in 2006 near Ballyferriter. Since then there have only been sporadic winter records, mostly from Carrahane and the Magharees area. 

A general switch from tillage to grazing combined with continued burning of heather and overgrazing of uplands means there is probably no longer any suitable breeding habitat in Kerry.

With just around 100 breeding pairs remaining in Ireland, it is worth looking for coloured rings on any which make it to Kerry, as many of the core Mayo population have been so ringed, but it is also possible that our occasional winter visitors to Kerry are from the much larger west Scotland population.