Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Arctic Warbler

During my recent visit to Clare Island (11th to 13th October 2021), I managed to find this rare Siberian Arctic Warbler, a first for the island and a 16th Irish record. The first one I seen in Ireland was a long way back on 6th September 1986 (only the 6th Irish record at that time), in Kilbaha, Loop Head.

Arctic Warbler, Clare Island John N Murphy

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Wader migration has begun

The last few weeks has seen the start of Trans Atlantic waders arriving from Arctic Canada and North America. Short-billed Dowitcher, Pectoral Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper and the sixth country record of Western Sandpiper at Dungarvan in Waterford. At the same time Wood Sandpipers and Little Stints are the beginning of waders starting to pour south out of  Scandinavian and Siberia. Here are some shots of Little Stints (the first shot with a Dunlin), which are sometimes confused for the rare North American Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Juvenile Little Stints in west Clare, Autumn 2020 John N Murphy

Red Kites of Wicklow

 I have travelled through Wicklow in the last few weeks on three occasions and managed to see up to 18 to 20 Red Kites on all of my trips in the Red Kite capital of Red Cross to Avoca. Here are a few snap shots.

Red Kites at Avoca John N Murphy

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Whitethroat Recovery

In recent years Whitethroats with their scratchy song have slowly recovered throughout the country. Even in Kerry birds have been recorded this year after an absence of many decades since the big crash in the 1970's. Throughout the country this year, I have never heard or seen so many birds. Hopefully the tropical weather we have received over the last few weeks, will help these warblers and many more to produce enough young and return to Africa for the winter, coming back next year in droves to breeding grounds throughout Ireland. 

Whitethroats John N Murphy

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Lapwing Return

Over the past three weeks while travelling to different parts of the country, I have noticed that large flocks of Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus have begun to move out into open fields after leaving the security of their breeding grounds in bogs and lakeshore edges. Its lovely to see these young birds as seen below, beginning to venture out into the green fields and start developing their own characters as we move closer to the end of our breeding season.

Immature Northern Lapwing feeding in open fields John N Murphy

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Smews in Spring

Back in May a pair of Smew frequented Gortglass Lake near Kildysert, over a three day period. At the time it looked like they might be settling in to breed.  But after weeks of constant monitoring they could not be re-located. They obviously headed back to Scandinavia after going off course during their northerly migration.

A pair of Smew at Gortglass Lake John N Murphy

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pink Stink

Rose-coloured Starling adult John N Murphy

Here is another one of the many Rose-coloured Starlings that have turned up in Clare and throughout the country in 2021. As this summer has seen an exceptional eruption of Rose-coloured Starlings out of Europe to western countries, they are now so plentiful they are regarded as Pink Stink. There was once a time in the not so distant past that this species was considered a rare bird to our shores, but in recent years with birds breeding in parts of central and western Europe they are almost considered common and what some twitchers would refer to as gank.  In Clare we have had 15 records to date. See below.

The first record for Clare was of an adult bird shot at Roxton, Corofin in 1808.  The next was another bird shot in the county during the summer of 1830. It is odd that all the Clare birds have been adults with no juveniles recorded here yet.

In the 1900’s there were two records. One adult male was shot at Sixmilebridge in the first week of July 1937.  The next bird also an adult was in a my own back garden when I lived at Tradaree Court, Shannon Town on 29th July 1989. 

The majority of records came in during 2000’s.

One adult was at Spanish Point from the 2nd to 19th of July 2000.

One adult was at Marrion Avenue, Ennis from the 1st to 12th July 2001.

One adult was seen on rooftops near the Half Way House Pub, Ennis from the 19th to 25th August 2007. 

One adult was at Spanish Point on 13th June 2012.

One adult was at Kilkee on 21st August 2017.

One adult was at Connolly on 18th July 2018. 

One adult at Kilcredaun on 20th June 2019. 

One adult at Hags Head from 1st to 4th June 2020. 

One adult at Kilcredaun from to 1st to 3rd June 2021. 

One adult was at Ogonelloe, east Clare on 15th June 2021.

One adult at Carrigaholt from 16th & 18th July 2021.

Adult Rose-coloured Starling at Carrigaholt with orange pollen on its head from drinking nectar from New Zealand Sea Flax plant along the roadside John N Murphy