Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pectoral Sandpiper

I was in Tacumshin, Wexford on Monday and caught up with one of the two Trans Atlantic vagrant Pectoral Sandpipers, that have been lingering on a small flash flood south of the main lake.  Here are a couple of images of one of the birds which was fairly tame.
 Pectoral Sandpiper at Tacumcshin © John N Murphy

Brown Booby RIP

On Monday 13th July 2020, as I was departing a work site near Bellmullet in Mayo, news broke that there was a Brown Booby sitting on Greystones Beach in County Wicklow.  As home was a 3 hour drive away and also Greystones the same distance I was torn between the long trip home or the detour to Wicklow.  Obviously from the shots below you can guess which direction I headed towards.  After the 3 hour dash and on arrival into Greystones Harbour I was met with the news from the large gathering of birders that the bird was gone missing for over half an hour. Eventually the bird was relocated on the north wall of the harbour and the following series of shots were gained.  By Wednesday the bird had been taken into captivity in a poor state and died by the end of the week.  This was the 4th record of Brown Booby in Ireland with the three previous records of one dead on Inchydoney beach in Cork, one off a Spanish fishing vessel in Kerry and one the same day as this bird on a cargo boat off the south west.  Looking forward to finding one in Clare and hopefully it will live a little longer that this one did.
 Brown Booby Greystones John N Murphy

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Pacific Golden Plover a first for Clare

I went to Doonbeg in west Clare today to look for the American Golden Plover that Geoff Pearson found there yesterday. To all our surprise it turned out to be a Pacific Golden Plover and a first record of this rare North American wader to the county. 
Pacific Golden Plover at Doonbeg Bay John N Murphy

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Common Cuckoo

During the Covid-19 lockdown and with all the fine weather it seems to have been a great early summer with Common Cuckoo abundant throughout the country. Here are a few shots of a male that spent a lot of time flying from pole to pole calling and picking up large caterpillars in the vegetation below.
Adult male Cuckoo © John N Murphy

Saturday, March 28, 2020


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.

Male & female Common (Red) Crossbills John N Murphy
Male Siskin John N Murphy

Monday, September 2, 2019

Semi-palmated Sandpiper in Sligo

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

Bonaparte's Gull still in Liscannor Bay

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