Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wilson's Phalarope

During my holidays in County Cork some weeks past, I managed to catch up with the Wilson's Phalarope in Kinsale Marsh.  The bird was not as confiding as the last one I saw and found at home in Loop Head, west Clare on 29th September 2006.  Photographs of both birds below.

Wilson's Phalarope at Ross Bay, Loop Head in 2006 © John N Murphy
 Distant shot of the Kinsale Wilson's Phalarope © John N Murphy
 Wilson's Phalarope top left of the picture flying with Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin © John N Murphy
 Wilson's Phalarope between two Redshank © John N Murphy
Wilson's Phalarope beside similar sized Redshank and a giant Great Black-backed Gull © John N Murphy

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Black-tailed Godwit

Some weeks ago I spent a few days holidays in South Cork along the coast.  The estuaries all over the county have to be some of the best locations in Ireland to get close and observe Black-tailed Godwits.

Black-tailed Godwits, Cork © John N Murphy

Kilcummin Again

I was briefly back at Kilcummin again yesterday 26th September 2012 and saw;

1 juvenile Sabine's Gull
1 Leach's Petrel
1 Grey Phalarope
1 Sooty Shearwater
1 Arctic Tern
8 Bonxies
1 Arctic Skua
10 Common Scoter

 Great Skuas (Bonxies) off Kilcummin Pier © John N Murphy
There were large movements of Gannets off Kilcummin Pier © John N Murphy

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I was out on Kilcummin Head late this evening where there was a gale force Northerly wind but a steady movement of seabirds through the sea spray.  For my troubles I had;

1 juvenile Sabine's Gull
1 Red-throated Diver
1 Great Northern Diver
50 Fulmars
9 Sooty Shearwaters
40 Manx Shearwaters
5-600 Gannets
800 Guillemots with small numbers of Razorbills mixed within
300 Kittiwakes
22 Great Skuas (Bonxies)
6 Arctic Skuas
1 juvenile Long-tailed Skua
1 juvenile Little Gull
1 Dunlin
3 Knot

 Bonxie © John N Murphy
 Fulmar © John N Murphy
Immature Great Black-backed Gull © John N Murphy

Monday, September 24, 2012


I was out in west Mayo a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to see so many small passerines like Stonechats, Meadow Pipits Skylark and so many more.

 A young Stonechat on Gorse © John N Murphy
 Male Stonechat on Red Rattle © John N Murphy
 Female & male Stonechats on wire fence © John N Murphy
 Meadow Pipit feeding in weeds © John N Murphy
Skylark on fence post © John N Murphy

Sunday, September 23, 2012


There are good numbers of Chough at Loop Head over the last few weeks.  This bird was picking out grubs on the cliff face in the Horseshoe Bay at the Bridges of Ross.

Chough at the Bridges of Ross © John N Murphy


We never see too many Dunlin at Loop Head, well not on land anyway, but often birds are observed during migration from seawatches.  So to find three birds in the small flash pool of the Horse Field near the Bridges of Ross, was nice for a change. Over the years this little flash has not produced many birds apart from one Little Stint, a few Ringed Plovers and the odd stray Golden Plover.  Below are a few shots on what was a sunny day with excellent light.

Dunlin, Bridges of Ross © John N Murphy

Snow Bunting

Yesterday, while searching the fields and heather areas of Loop Head, I came upon this young male Snow Bunting in the heather in front of the lighthouse.

Snow Bunting, Loop Head © John N Murphy

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mediterranean Gull

I had forgotten how numerous Mediterranean Gulls had become in Cork.  One day last week at Ballycotton I had 16 birds in one flock, while at Whitegate there were over 46 in the one location with an additional ten at Rostellan.  In Cobh I had a further 18 with a first for me in this country of a  bird sitting in a tree.

Mediterranean Gulls © John N Murphy