Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Clare Yellowhammer Survey 2015

The Yellowhammer is Red Listed in both the UK  and Ireland and is of ‘Birds of Conservation Concern’ on the grounds that there has been a decline greater than 50% in the last 25 years. Its European status is listed as ‘non-SPEC, status secure’.  It is not listed in the Annexes of the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC).  In Clare we have seen a dramatic drop in numbers since the late 1970's and during the breeding season of 2015, I am trying to get a handle on remaining numbers in the county both breeding and wintering populations.  We know that the central Burren and east-Burren areas still hold a small number of birds, but since the Atlas of Breeding Birds of the Burren (Lysaght) in the early 1990's, we are not sure of the true picture and totals remaining in this area and how they are fairing today.  So to try and fill in the gaps and clarify the situation, I am trying to cover the areas in this region during the remainder of this year to see if numbers are holding there own or dropping.  To complete this survey I will require as much help from other people as possible.  The Burren is a popular tourist and holiday destination. If you are visiting the Burren or Clare  this year or living in the Burren, I would like to receive any sightings of Yellowhammer that you come across if visiting this Geopark, whether on a bush, visiting your farm where livestock are being fed, or coming to your bird table to feed with the other common garden birds.  Please send in any sightings to me at (murphyjohnn@gmail.com) or text 086-3208965 with you sightings.  Many Thanks.
Yellowhammers in the Burren John N Murphy

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Purple Sandpipers

I was back at Seafield, Quilty yesterday in west Clare.  There were 50 Purple Sandpipers on the rising tide picking amongst the rising seaweed with lots of other waders.  There was also on first-winter Ring-billed gull and a couple of Wheatears.
Purple Sandpipers at Seafield John N Murphy
 Turnstones John N Murphy
First-winter Ring-billed Gull John N Murphy

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Black-tailed Godwit

This Black-tailed Godwit was at Ballycorrick Bridge, Ballynacally this afternoon.  Birds do not normally frequent this creek in spring and it is much better in autumn when young birds gather here to feed in the soft estuarine mud.
 Black-tailed Godwit at Ballycorrick Bridge John N Murphy


Friday, March 13, 2015

Blue P Red N & Pale Belly

I dropped into Cromane in Kerry this afternoon.  While there I saw the first-winter Glaucous Gull that I photographed on my last visit and three colour ringed Pale-bellied Brent Geese.  I tend not to take many shots nowadays of Brent Geese as in the past I took so many that a re just sitting in the office in slide boxes or on hard drives.  Spending time today taking these shots and 300 more I forgot how social these geese are with lots of squabbling between different groups and family parties.  Great to see.
Pale-bellied Brent Geese John N Murphy

Friday, March 6, 2015

Glaucous Gull

This first-winter Glaucous Gull was feeding on a dead pup seal  along the shore near Cromane, Castlemaine, Kerry late this evening.  The tide was fully in and the Spoonbill was roosting on a headland east of the pier at Cromane.

First-winter Glaucous Gull at Cromane John N Murphy

Iceland Gull

At Reenard Point, Kerry tis evening there were three Iceland Gulls.  One adult, one third winter and a first-winter.  Here are a few shots.

Iceland Gulls, Reenard Point, Caherciveen, Kerry John N Murphy