Thursday, November 19, 2020

Richard's Pipit

This Richard's Pipit was found in an undisclosed site in Limerick County today by Davey Farrar. It is a first county record and an excellent winter find of this eastern European vagrant. Here are a few distant shots.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Lesser Kestrel

This Lesser Kestrel appeared outside Kilkee on 9th November 2020. It spent 15-20 minutes hunting along the ground where it was eating worms and other small inverts. It was a 1st county record for Clare and only a 2nd Irish record. The previoes record was 130 years almost to the day. A male Lesser Kestrel was found at Glenamuck on 10th November 1890. The bird over-wintered and was shot on 17th February 1891. To date there have been 21 records for Britain and its amazing that we have not had more birds recorded in Ireland as this species seems to be undergoing a population increase in southern Europe due to consrvation efforts. This bird did not reappear at any point after this date despite extensive searches for it along the west Clare coast.

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