Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pied-billed Grebe

I was working in west Mayo today and got the opportunity to visit Lough Baun near Louisburgh early this morning to have a look for a Pied-billed Grebe that Pat Lonergan found a couple of days ago.  On the lake there was a Long-tailed duck. one Little Grebe, a half dozen Eurasian Teal and the Pied-billed. I first spotted the bird in the reed bed to the North side of the lake.  It then proceeded to swim out into the open water and start fishing.  After 20 minutes it swam into thick vegetation to the west where it skulked about for a long time, giving bad views on and off hereafter. This was the first record for Mayo.

This is the 11th Irish record of Pied-billed Grebe.  The previous records were as follows (thanks to Joe Hobbs for help with the attached list).

1. 24 May - 21 June 1987. Our Lady's Island Lake, Co. Wexford. Irish Birds 3(4): 611 & 4(1): 81.
2. 23 - 24 April 1988. Lough Anarget, Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal. Irish Birds 4(1): 81.
3.  2 January - 4 March 1995. North Slob, Co. Wexford. Irish Birds 5(4): 447.
4.  1 February - 23 March 1997. Rostellan, Co. Cork. Irish Birds 6(2): 287.
     10 October 1997 - 5 April 1998. Rostellan, Co. Cork. Presumed same individual returning. Irish Birds 6(2): 287.
     29 June 1998 - 20 April 1999. Rostellan, Co. Cork. Presumed same individual returning. 
Irish Birds 6(3): 379.

5. 11 - 14 December 1997. Kilbaha, Co. Clare. Irish Birds 6(2): 287.
6. 24 October - 8 November 2000. Lough Aderra, Co. Cork. Irish Birds 7(1): 81.
7. 22 - 30 November 2003. Tacumshin, Co. Wexford. Irish Birds 7(4): 553.
8. 19 February - 31 March 2010. Lough Gur, Co. Limerick. Irish Birds 9(2): 291.
9.  5 March - 3 April 2010. Corofin, Co. Clare. Irish Birds 9(2): 291.
10. 11 December 2010 - 3 February 2011. Little Island, Co. Cork. Irish Birds 9(2): 291.

Pied-billed Grebe at Lough Baun, Mayo © John N Murphy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moyasta Ducks

I had a look at Moyasta Creek every time I have passed that way visiting Loop Head in recent weeks and it is full of Eurasian Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and waders.  There have been a flock of at least 400 Eurasian Teal there since mid September.  In the last two weeks Wigeon numbers have also started to rise.

Drake Teal © John N Murphy
 Eurasian Wigeon © John N Murphy

A Long Day

I had the option yesterday to head to the Aran Islands where a Olive-backed Pipit was found about a week ago OR go to Loop Head to find my own or something else.  Obviously I choose the Loop where a long day was spent tramping the headland, fields and laneways trying to dig out some migrant.  The best birds I could find were the juvenile American Golden Plover that is still hanging around with the Golden Plover flock at the Horse Field near the Bridges of Ross.  Also two Snow Buntings were on the headland, along with a Brambling, four Chiffchaffs, two male Blackcaps, one Peregrine, one Merlin, one ring-tail Hen Harrier, one Siskin and some Red & Great Northern Divers near the bridges with three Common Scoter flying quickly by.

American Golden Plover with Eurasian Golden Plover at the Bridges of Ross © John N Murphy
Female Stonechat on the road to Loop Head Lighthouse © John N Murphy
Meadow Pipit numbers have decreased at Loop since the Merlins arrived two weeks ago © John N Murphy
Collared Dove in Kilbaha © John N Murphy
Great Northern Divers at Ross Bay © John N Murphy
Chough at Loop Lighthouse © John N Murphy


Was at the Loop again yesterday where I managed to find my first Brambling of the winter that arrived in an area near Johnny Walshes farm.  I have been feeding mixed seeds along a small track (thanks to Precious Pets in Ennis, for supplying this wildbird seed), to encourage birds to stay and fatten up before migrating away from Loop.   A small flock of 70 Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Dunnocks, Great Tits and one Tree Sparrow were making the best of the free supplies.

Brambling at Loop Head © John N Murphy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marlfield Lake

I was working at a site in North Waterford today.  On my way home this evening I stopped off at Marlfield Lake just outside Clonmel.  This is a small pond but a great place to see Gadwall close and other good birds as well.

 Drake Teal © John N Murphy
 Drake Gadwall © John N Murphy
 First-winter Little Grebes © John N Murphy
 Grey Wagtail © John N Murphy
 Moorhen © John N Murphy
Tufted Ducks © John N Murphy

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pied Flycatcher

This first-winter Pied Flycatcher was feeding in Sycamores and Ash trees at Gibson's garden, Kilbaha, loop Head today.  We get one Pied Flycatcher per annum in Clare so it was nice to be there when this bird arrived after severe gales last night.

Pied Flycatcher at Gibson's garden, Loop Head © John N Murphy

Spotted Sandpipers

I was back at Moyasta Creek today and both the juvenile Spotted Sandpipers were still feeding in the creek.

Spotted Sandpipers at Moyasta © John N Murphy

Short-eared Owl

This short-eared Owl arrived in off the sea this morning close to Loop Head Lighthouse where it rested for a short period before flying off inland.

Short-eared Owl at Loop Head © John N Murphy

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spotted Sandpipers

A juvenile Spotted Sandpiper was found at Moyasta Creek, Poulnasherry Bay at approximately 15.40 by Tom Tarpey, Tony Mee and Gerry Butler.  I missed calls from these lads alerting me that the bird was at Moyasta. Due to bad phone coverage on the Bridges of Ross, where we were looking to relocate the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, I did not receive the news at the time.   It was only after getting back to my car that the voice mail came through where I made a quick call to Tom.  We (Finbarr MacGabhann and myself) immediately made our way to Moyasta.  When we got there we had two birds flitting about in the late evening light.  It turned out that both these birds were juvenile Spotted Sandpipers.  These are only the 4th and 5th County records.  The past three records were; one the Skivileen River, Doughmore, one adult Doonbeg Lough, one juvenile Kilbaha harbour and these juveniles at Moyasta.  A perfect end to a great day.

Two Spotted Sandpipers at Moyasta © John N Murphy

American Waders at Loop

An intense search around Loop Head peninsula today produced a few American Waders.  Early this morning I located a juvenile American Golden Plover on the heather on the land ward side of the lighthouse compound.  Later in the day the birds moved down the road to the Fodry.  Also at Loop Head was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in the Horse Field near the Bridges of Ross.  A female type Snow Bunting was outside the gates of the lighthouse compound and this was a very tame bird.

 American Golden Plover at Loop Head © John N Murphy
Snow Bunting at the entrance to Loop Head Lighthouse © John N Murphy