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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Gulls and plovers

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Carrahane, 24th March 2017 (David O'Connor).

Possibly a returning bird, as one has appeared here in spring in each of the last 4-5 years.

Iceland Gull, Black Rock, 28th March 2017 (David O'Connor).

psammodromus Ringed Plover, Black Rock, 28th March 2017 (David O'Connor).

There are three sub-species of Ringed Plover currently recognised, and the northern, mainly Arctic-breeding sub-species psammodromus breeds in NE Canada through Greenland to Svalbard, Iceland and the Faeroes, and winters from SW Europe to W Africa. Quite a few pass through Ireland each spring and autumn, though often unnoticed. The slightly darker mantle is the main giveaway.

psammodromus Ringed Plover, Black Rock, 28th March 2017 (David O'Connor).

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Ireland's oldest Barn Owl still alive, near Tralee

The oldest wild Barn Owl recorded so far in Ireland is alive and well, and present again at his nest box near Tralee, Co. Kerry.

 Ireland's oldest Barn Owl, Tralee, Co. Kerry, 27th March 2017 (M.O'Clery).

You can read more about his life history, and the interesting history of this nest site HERE, HERE and HERE.

He is now almost nine year old.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Kumlien's Gull at Reenard

Adult Kumlien's Gull, Reenard, 24th March 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Adult Kumlien's Gull, Reenard, 24th March 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Of the 47 accepted records of Kumlien's Gull for Kerry, this is the 11th adult, after single adults in 1958, 1994, 2008, 2010, 2012, and the bumper year of 2014 when 24 Kumlien's Gulls occurred, of which 5 were adults (with thanks to Ed Carty). 

Adult Iceland Gull, Reenard, 24th March 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Two Iceland Gulls were also present.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Volunteers needed for National Peregrine Survey

Peregrine Falcon (location withheld), July 2015 (M.O'Clery).

Can you give a few hours of your time, on two to three dates this spring and summer? If so, do consider volunteering for the national survey of Peregrine Falcons. A well worthwhile project.

Recently fledged Peregrine Falcon (location withheld), July 2015 (M.O'Clery).

From the Irish Raptor Study Group (IRSG):

The IRSG are coordinating a National Peregrine Survey in 2017. The survey aims to determine the number of occupied breeding territories in Ireland. The last national survey took place in 2002. If you are interested in taking part in the survey, please read on. 

Peregrine Falcon, (location withheld), June 2016 (M.O'Clery).

Survey Methods

The breeding survey involves a minimum of two visits to known sites and where possible all suitable nesting habitat within each 5km square. These visits must take place between specific time windows 
(Visit 1: 18th March to 18th April; Visit 2: mid June to mid July) 
and will determine occupancy and breeding success. 

Full details of the survey methodology, maps, data collection sheets, etc., will be provided to all participants once survey squares have been allocated. 

Survey Squares

A list of priority 5km squares have been identified for the survey. Additional squares may be added to this map depending on resources available. The high priority 5km squares have been selected based on the following criteria:
- Occur within a Peregrine SPAs
- Contain a known Peregrine breeding sites (identified from previous studies)


If you are interested in getting involved, please reply to the organiser's email (Jen Lynch)  and provide the following:

1. Name

2. Location you are interested in surveying: (e.g. Dingle Peninsula)

I will contact you to suggest a survey square that you may be able to cover. I will also send on full information on the survey methodology, field sheets and maps. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Best regards, 

Jen Lynch

Jen's email is

Peregrine Falcon feathers, from below a nest site, (location withheld), August 2014 (M.O'Clery).

Friday, 17 March 2017

Pied Wagtail roost trees removed by council

Tralee County Council have removed the 25 year old Hornbeams which were on The Mall in central Tralee. This was done as an overall scheme to redesign the street but, unfortunately, these trees had hosted a large roost for Pied Wagtails in recent winters.

The Mall in Tralee from a couple of years ago, showing the trees where the wagtails roosted (Google Earth).

And the tree stumps on 2nd March (M.O'Clery).

According to Tralee Today (link is HERE and the Kerry Radio article HERE), they are to be replaced with planters containing smaller trees, so it is probable these won't provided sufficient height to attract the roost back to the street. 

The Pied Wagtails at the Mall this winter (Kilian Kelly).

Winter counts at the roost over the past five years had shown this was regularly frequented by around 200 Pied Wagtails. What a shame that this unique urban wildlife spectacle was needlessly removed in the name of 'progress'.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

It's March. It's Black Rock. It's a Littoralis.

Scandinavian (Littoralis) Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 14th March 2017 (David O'Connor).

If you like your Rock Pipits pink, then Black Rock in late March and early April is up there as one of the most reliable sites in Ireland to see them. There were two present on 14th.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

TBWC gulls

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, 7th March 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

First-winter Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, 7th March 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Iceland Gull, Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, 7th March 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Another pink one

Littoralis Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 27th February 2017 (David O'Connor).

A new bird at this site.

Littoralis Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 27th February 2017 (David O'Connor).