Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday 26th September 2016

This Pied Flycatcher was at Kilbaha, Loop Head since yesterday and I got a chance to get back there this evening and got these record shots of the bird in the trees at the bottom of Marty Lillis's garden.

First-winter male Pied Flycatcher at Kilbaha John N Murphy

Saturday, September 24, 2016

More Lapland Buntings at Loop

I was back at Loop Head again today and there was still a flock of 17 Lapland Buntings feeding around the grounds of Loop Head Lighthouse. 2011 was the last time such good numbers were recorded in the country and at Loop. The southerly winds are probably holding these birds back from migrating south, but as soon as they shift direction, I'm sure these birds will be on the wing. Also no Merlin's have arrived yet on the headland and they usually scatter birds once they come down from Iceland.

 Lapland Buntings at Loop Head Lighthouse John N Murphy

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Little Stint

I have travelled back and forth to Seafield in Quilty over the past week in search of the Baird's Sandpiper found there a week ago or so, and also to seek out the summer plumaged Banaparte's Gull found last Monday morning.  I have obviously not seen either of the two birds, but managed to shoot off a set of photos of Little Stints, Dunlin and Curlew Sandpipers.
 Little Stints John N Murphy
 Curlew Sandpiper with a very short bill John N Murphy
Dunlin on Seafield Beach John N Murphy

Sunday, September 18, 2016


There was a large flock of 300-400 Herring Gulls feeding on the high tideline of Ross Bay, Loop Head yesterday evening 17th September 2016. As I walked the road checking out the gulls feeding in the waves I noticed this first-summer/2nd-winter white headed gull within the main flock.  At first I thought it might be a Caspian Gull due to the clean white head, but the bill did not appear long and parallel enough for that race. I then thought it looked bulky enough to be Larus michahellis but the bill looked odd and certain features were not right. The next conclusion I came to was Armenian Gull Larus armenicus from central Turkey to Armenia, but as I have not seen this race which is closely related to Yellow-legged Gull, I could not be sure. I have sent shots off to experts for their comments.  If anyone can shed some light please feel free to do so.

Large Gull at Ross Bay, Loop Head John N Murphy
This Great Black-backed Gull with dirty dark legs was at Ross Bay , Loop Head on Saturday and I had previously seen and photographed this bird two weeks ago at Black Rock Strand in Kerry John N Murphy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

While walking the fields at Loop Head this afternoon I came upon this juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper in the plover fields on the north side of the peninsula.  The bird arrived into the field while I was checking it and was very wary. I managed to get a few long distant record shots before the bird took off and flew inland and eastwards.
 Buff-breasted Sandpiper in the plover fields at Loop Head John N Murphy

Friday, September 9, 2016

Lapland Buntings at Loop

I got back for a run around the Loop Head peninsula this afternoon.  I walked much of the head and found at least 27 Lapland Buntings all throughout the headland. There were 10 in front of the lighthouse with a flock of 13 at the Fodry Hill and another four at least on lower edges of the cliffs at the Fodry.  This coincides with a large arrival further north where 84 were recorded earlier today on Tory Island in Donegal. There were also two Snow Buntings. 
Lapland Buntings at Loop Head John N Murphy
 Wheatear at Loop Head John N Murphy
 Chough at the Fodry,Loop Head John N Murphy