There is much Crossbill activity out there at the moment. I observed a family party of five during the week with three freshly hatched young chicks. All Crossbills in the country are being scrutinised now since Allan Mee found the Two-barred Crossbill in Limerick a couple of weeks back. It is surprising that we don't have more records of this rare Siberian visitor to Ireland. For now we will just have to keep looking and enjoy these superb birds.
Monday, September 2, 2019
I was passing through Sligo this afternoon on my way to Donegal and dropped into Ross's Strand to see the Semi-palmated Sandpiper that Paul Keogh found there yesterday evening. I located the bird fairly quickly after good directions to the spot from Seamus Feeney. The weather was dull but the bird could easily be picked out close to shore within a flock of Ringed Plovers, Sanderling, Knot, one Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlin. This individual appeared bright at times and for a short spell I thought it might have been a Little Stint, but was re-assured by Killian Mullarney that it was a brighter individual of Semi-P than I have seen in the past. A great find by Paul. Here are the distant limited shots that I got of the bird.
Semi-palamated Sandpiper John N Murphy
Curlew Sandpiper with Sanderling and the Semi-palmated Sandpiper on the right John N Murphy
Semi-palmated Sandpiper fling to the left hand side of this flock with Sanderling John N Murphy
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
The first record or this rare North American Gull was found in the exact same spot over 20 years ago, a first-winter back on 24th to 29th of January 1999. Since then there have been six other records. Two years ago an adult coming out of summer plumage was found at Quilty. Then last winter, a winter plumaged bird was found at Loop Head, and now this bird at Clahane, also an adult moulting out of summer plumage. Possibly the same bird or another, who knows. Great bird and always nice to see them close to home.
Adult Bonaparte's with Black-headed Gull John N Murphy
Adult Bonaparte's Gull at Clahane John N Murphy
Old slide shots of the original first-winter Bonaparte's Gull at Clahane beach John N Murphy
Saturday, July 6, 2019
During the last week a pod of 8 to10 Risso's Dolphins have been feeding off shore of Skellig Michael Island. I got a few shots of a mother and calf that came close to the south side of the island last Wednesday evening. The mother has lots of what looks like propeller scaring on her dorsal fin and back. Someone suggested it might be attacks from giant squid but I'm not convinced.
Mother Risso's Dolphin John N Murphy
Calf and mother Risso's Dolphins John N Murphy
Calf Risso's Dolphin John N Murphy
Risso's Dolphins John N Murphy
Seabirds seem to have had a good breeding season this year with young birds departing the nest early than in previous years. I was back on the Skellig Michael Island during the week and the Puffins have done well with hundreds of young birds out and about departing the nest burrows consistently all week long.
Adult Puffin will a bill full of Sand Eels and sprat John N Murphy
Puffins playing with a flower stem John N Murphy
Puffins bill tapping John N Murphy
Juvenile Puffin with adult John N Murphy
Young Puffin emerging from burrow John N Murphy
A young Puffin with grass ticks over its eyes John N Murphy
Puffin in flight and birds at sea John N Murphy
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Just back after another working week in north west Iceland, a little south of Isajfordur, where I got the chance on this trip to snap off a few shots of local and common breeding birds. It is always a delight to see birds in breeding plumage, on the breeding grounds, as compared to migrating through Ireland or stopping here for the winter.
Harlequin Ducks or river ducks as they are known in Iceland John N Murphy
Female Teal close to her nest site
A male Black-tailed Godwit in breeding plumage John N Murphy
A colour ringed Oystercatcher near Arngerdareyri John N Murphy
Glaucous Gulls at Budardalur John N Murphy
Young Seal moulting John N Murphy
Arctic Tern, one of the longest migrating species on the planet John N Murphy
Purple Sandpiper John N Murphy
Redshank holding territory on a post John N Murphy
Icelandic Redwing John N Murphy
Adult breeding dark phased Arctic Skua John N Murphy
Whimbrel on display mounds John N Murphy
Ringed Plover male John N Murphy
A male Rock Ptarmagin John N Murphy
Golden Plover John N Murphy
Eider Ducks John N Murphy