Monday, June 18, 2018

Rosy Starling

This adult Rosy Starling was at Derrymore National School at Kerry Head from 11th to 13th June. It was in the small playing pitch of to the back of the school when I photographed it with a small flock of Common Starlings and was wary, feeding mainly in close to the tall uncut grass at the edge of the hedge around the pitch.
 Rose-coloured Starling at Kerry Head John N Murphy

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Reed Warblers

As a trainee ringer, I spent summers catching Sedge Warblers at the Shannon Airport Lagoon under the supervision of my trainer Philip Brennan.  Occasionally Phil would catch the odd Reed Warbler and we would get to see it in the hand.  This was my first introduction to this species.  These birds were first caught and ringed at the Lagoon on 29th July 1979, when one juvenile was ringed with an adult the following day on 30th. These were the first North Munster records.  Juveniles were subsequently caught and ringed on the following dates: one on 8th October 1983. One on 26th September, with another on 14th October 1985. At this time it was thought that birds could possibly have been breeding in the Lagoon, but with no solid evidence.  Over the last week it has come to light that birds are breeding at the Shannon Airport Lagoon.  There have been up to five singing males and birds were observed carrying food for young.  Two nest sites locations have been confirmed with the possibility of more.  These are the first confirmed breeding records for Clare (per JNM)  Here are a few shots of birds from the lagoon.
 
 Reed Warblers at the Shannon Airport Lagoon with one bird carrying food for young John N Murphy
 An adult Sedge Warbler at the lagoon carrying food for young John N Murphy

Monday, June 4, 2018

Black-browed Albatross

Here are a few shots of the Black-browed Albatross from Skellig Michael on 30th May.

Adult Black-browed Albatross on Skellig John N Murphy

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Continental Cormorants

I grew up on the banks of the River Slaney in Enniscorthy, County Wexford.  As young kids in the early 1970's my brother Jim and my cousin Jim, spent most of our summers exploring the banks and tributaries of this grand river. Exploring Kingfisher nests along with Sandmartins and finding bridges where Grey Wagtails were living were some of our childhood activities. Over the winter I have been back and forth visiting my aging parents and regularly take walks along the river south of the Riverside Hotel, where I often photograph the birds and wildlife along its banks.  When we were growing up here, there were no Little Egrets in Ireland, Buzzards were rare and Continental Cormorants we new nothing about. Even Reed Warblers had not colonised the Slaney at that point.  Now Continental Cormorants seem to be an everyday occurrence.  Here are a selection of shots from a few visits during March of this year.
 
 Adult Cormorant showing charachteristics of Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis John N Murphy
 
 Immature Cormorant showing characteristics Continental Cormorant of Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis  John N Murphy
Two adult Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax Carbo John N Murphy
 Adult Grey Herons John N Murphy
Grey Heron with Little Egrets and Little Egrets John N Murphy
Adult male Grey Wagtail John N Murphy
 Long-tailed Tit John N Murphy
 Indian Goose an introduced species to the Slaney John N Murphy

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Iceland Gull with dark wing edges

This sub-adult Iceland Gull has been on Kilkee beach for the last two weeks along side the American Herring Gull.  I see Richard Bonser made comments online about it having a black spot on the left wing and dark edges to the outer primaries. I was intrigued, so I made sure to take shots and study the bird a little closer during my visit to see the AMG.  The bird had no black spots in any of the primaries, but a gap in the feather of P10 on the left wing and the edges of the wings were dark as Richard stated.  But most of the darkness on the under primaries was caused by sand and dirt that the bird picked up on the beach, as it scrambled for food with the other gulls. There was however some dark lines on the outer trailing edge of the primaries on the upper and lower of both wings that is not consistent nor the standard for Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides, but it did not appear to be anything else either such as Kumliens Iceland Gull from Canada Larus glaucoides kumlieni ?  I think it is just one of those that we will have to let go unless genetically tested.
 
 P10 is showing a lot of dark edges especially at the tip
 Here one can see the gap in the outer feather of P10
 Once again an indentation on P10 of the left wing
 The underside of P10 with sand spattered along the primary and dark edges to the outer tip
 Here the outer edges of all the under primaries appear dark
3CY or Sub adult Iceland Gull at Kilkee John N Murphy

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Long-tailed Duck

This immature male Long-tailed Duck has been feeding in Kilkee Bay for over a week now.  He is obviously getting lots of food from the bed of the sandy bay. I do not get very many opportunities to photograph this sea duck, as the majority of birds are normally miles out to sea, and in rough weather.

 Long-tailed Duck at Kilkee Bay John N Murphy