Saturday, January 28, 2017

Caspian Gull

Here are a series of additional shots of the Caspian Gull in Limerick City with the first winter Yellow-legged Gull and other Herring Gulls.
 Caspian Gull & friends © John N Murphy

Northern Gull in Limerick

This first-winter Northern Gull Larus argenteus argentatus was at Thomand Weir in Limerick today along with the second-winter Caspian Gull, the first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, two first-winter Iceland Gulls, one adult and one first-winter ring-billed Gulls and a variety of other gulls.

Northern Herring Gull Larus argenteus argentatus with adult Great Black-backed and first-winter Herring
 © John N Murphy

Ring-billed Gull Limerick

I was back in Limerick this morning gull watching and got some shots of the first-winter and adult birds on O'Callaghan's Strand and slipway.

First-winter and adult Ring-billed Gull © John N Murphy

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Snipe on high tide roost in Carrigaline Town, Cork on 25th January 2017.

 Snipe © John N Murphy

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Redwings Icelandic or Scandinavian

There has been some discussion in Ireland over the last few weeks as to how numerous Icelandic Redwings are in Ireland. Recent findings of the Icelandic race spp. coburni in Wexford by Killian Mullarney (info at, has sparked off interest in Redwing Thurdus iliacus flocks around the country. For many years I was of the belief that the majority of birds that arrived along the west coast of Ireland in autumn were of Icelandic origins, and that east coast birds were probably more likely to be of Scandinavian stocks. But ringing data and satellite tracking has shown that many Icelandic Redwings overshoot Ireland in autumn and hit France and Iberia, never stopping in Ireland or Britain.  But surely a small proportion visit this country in autumn and winter? Here are a few shots that I had to hand of Redwings taken over the last ten years.  One or two look Icelandic to me due to overall dark appearance in head and body plumage. I have seen birds in breeding plumage in Iceland but breeding plumage differs from winter plumage.  Any comments? I will try and dig out more shots of Redwing in the coming days and post them for your perusal, especially ground feeding birds. As always I have sent these shots off to some friends for their expert opinions and analysis.
 Redwing at Bellmullet in November 2014 © John N Murphy
 Redwing at Dromore Nature Reserve in December 2010 © John N Murphy
 Redwings at Coonagh, Limerick in December 2011 © John N Murphy
 Redwing at Shannon Industrial Estate, Clare in January © 2008 John N Murphy
Redwing at Ballycar, Clare in February 2005 © John N Murphy
 This bird was at St.Flannans College in Ennis, Clare in December 2011 © John N Murphy
These birds were photographed at Seafield, Quilty, Clare in December 2009 © John N Murphy 
Redwing at Coonagh, Limerick in December 2011 © John N Murphy

Monday, January 23, 2017

Barnacle Geese Return

The mild storm free winter has allowed the 300 or more Barnacle Geese that traditionally over-winter in Clare, to feed on offshore islands thus far this winter, and has not forced them to graze on the mainland so far this season. Last week on a trip around west Clare we came across the flock on open fields near Doonbeg which was a delight to see and hear.
 Barnacle Geese near Doonbeg © John N Murphy

Iceland Gull

Iceland Gulls have arrived on the Irish west coast from the North over the last few weeks. This first-winter bird was recently seen at Kilkee in the south west corner of Clare.

Iceland Gull, Kilkee © John N Murphy