Monday, September 30, 2013

Spotted Flycatcher

There were numerous Spotted Flycatchers in the garden and bushes around the house on Great Saltee Island last weekend.

 Spotted Flycatchers on Great Saltee Island, Wexford © John N Murphy

Willow Warbler

This Willow Warbler was actively feeding between the heavy showers of rain in the house garden on Great Saltee Island last weekend.  At this time of the year they are getting scarcer as many have already departed for their long migration to subtropical countries in Africa.

Willow Warbler searching for insects within a Sycamore Tree on Great Saltee Island © John N Murphy


With the strong South East winds in the last week many migrants heading to Africa have been held up awaiting the winds to shift and help them on their migration to wintering grounds.  There have been good numbers of Wheatears present along the whole Clare coast in the last week.

Wheatears near Quilty, west Clare © John N Murphy

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Red-backed Shrike

This immature Red-backed Shrike was showing very well in fields near the Lighthouse a Hook Head.  He was frequenting the hedgerows where the Booted Warbler was a few days before.  Maybe he attacked and eat the Booted Warbler and that is why it is no longer present on the headland.
 Immature Red-backed Shrike on Hook Head, County Wexford © John N Murphy


A boat was organised to go to the Saltees this morning (Saturday 28th September), and I managed to secure a space on board.   On my way into Kilmore Quay I had a Turtle Dove on wires with Collared Doves near Killag.  On the way out to the Saltees passerines were migrating past the boat in good numbers which augered well for our day trip.  Once on the Island I found two Yellow-browed Warblers in the Rec with Tom Shevlin and Paul Archer.  A Garden Warbler flew past me near the house while a Redstart and Wryneck were found up the island by Alyn Walsh and Kieran Grace.  A Tree Pipit flew over the thrown calling, heard by three observers.  Three Whinchats were in the valley near the Magic Bush along with Whitethroats, Spotted Flycatchers and a Lesser Whitethroat.  The garden had Blackcaps in it and a few Chiffchaffs and one Willow Warbler.  A female Hen Harrier flew around the island on a couple of occasions.

Wryneck on Great Saltee Island © John N Murphy


There was a male Redstart on Hook Head near the graveyard along with one Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Sparrows and a juvenile Red-backed Shrike.

 Male Common Redstart at Hook Head © John N Murphy
 Chiffchaff at Hook Head © John N Murphy

Friday, September 27, 2013

Loop Head Migration

I went back to Loop Head yesterday evening due to the fact that there were migrants at headlands and islands all over the country yesterday due to South-east winds.  In Gibson's Garden Kilbaha there were two Yellow-browed Warblers, one Pied Flycatcher,one Spotted Flycatcher, one Goldcrest and four Siskins.  A flock of 14 Lapland Buntings were flying around open ground on the approach side to the Lighthouse where a young male Sparrowhawk was stirring things up (more shots will be added later).

 Yellow-browed Warbler in Kilbaha © John N Murphy
Pied Flycatcher in Gibson's Garden, Loop Head © John N Murphy

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Blackpoll Warbler

I made the long trek early yesterday morning to Inisbofin to try and twitch Ireland's second ever Eastern Kingbird.  I was picked up at 4.00am in Newmarket-on-Fergus village by an old friend Tony Mee.  We made the 7.00am boat in good time and arrived on the Island with the large bunch of birders before 8.00am.  The island was shrouded in mist and as we walk across the harbour I spotted a bird low down on a sheep wire fence that had I was convinced was the Kingbird.  One other birder also saw this bird and agreed that it was a Kingbird, and with the panic and rush to see the bird  a scope got dropped, and the bird scattered with the sound of a Swarovski HD 95 scope bouncing off the tarmac.  The bird was not seen after this point but once the fog lifted around 11.00am other birds began to appear.  During the early afternoon this first-winter Blackpoll Warbler appeared in a garden near the Hostel and moved rapidly around the island being hotly persued by hoards of trigger happy birders snapping off photos.  The tally of birds for the day were; Eastern Kingbird, Blackpoll Warbler, Reed Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, two or three Wrynecks, Common Rosefinch, four Whinchats, seven Spotted Flycatchers and one Corncrake.

Blackpoll Warbler on Inishbofin, with ticks attached to its face © John N Murphy

Sunday, September 22, 2013

American Golden Plover

I made it back to Kilkee late this afternoon Friday 20th September 2013 after work to see the adult American Golden Plover found by Killian Mullarney and Jim Dowdall last weekend.  The bird was feeding on the seaweed to the west end of the beach with Turnstones, Dunlin and one Knot.
 American Golden Plover on Kilkee Beach with Knot © John N Murphy