Sunday, January 3, 2016

Glaucous-winged gull

Found myself in Castletownbere pre-dawn, and more worryingly, pre-shop opening! Luckily, when the spar did finally open its doors at 9.00 am, there were hash browns aplenty, along with lashings of tae.

Even more luckily, yesterday's glaucous-winged gull was picked up again off the main pier at about 9.45 am, with the help of some well-aimed bits of bread. And rather corking it was too...

Not the most useful wing shot, as I think the primary tips are slightly bent, which makes the white look less extensive than it was, but its the best I managed to get. The grey on the primary tips also seemed to vary quite a lot, depending on the angle & the light - sometimes it looked quite dark-winged. I think the shots here show up as darker than in the flesh. I'm sure better shots are out there, but I was very pleased to get such close views!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Early days of 2016 on the patch

The first couple of days of the new year have been quite productive, nailing black-tailed godwit, black redstart and a lone purple sandpiper, first gleaned on the 31st Dec (56). Think the purp is only my 4th record for the patch, but they do seem to show up at Long Strand during big storms. Good to know!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

biking not birding

Haven't been out birding much of late. There's been too much of this...

Yes, indeedy, the midlife crisis continues unabated, however it did lead to a bit more of this....

I was jammy enough to spy the american bittern from the bike, as it paraded around the banks of Castlefreke Lake after a few days of not being reported. The downside was that "Old Spoons" managed to finally tick it the following morning, when this shot was taken.

Sadly, its looking more and more likely that the bird may have left Castlefreke Lake, as it hasn't been reported for several days, despite a few visiting birders looking hard for it. Hopefully, it'll turn up again though.There's been a fair bit of european twitching action going on, with belgians, germans and even geordies coming for it! I'd better keep cycling past though, just in case it does reappear.

Slightly less mega visitors (but still welcome) turned up at White's Marsh yesterday, and I managed to catch up with them today...

Sadly, it was too dark to see by the time I cycled back to get them on my "from the bike" list this pm but hopefully they'll stick around and give me another chance!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A local twitch

It took me all of 5 minutes this morning to drive from my house to the scene of much excitement yesterday. Sadly though, I was heading off patch - 2.7km off patch to be precise. As light slowly began to increase, 10 of us started scouring the shore of Castlefreke lake for the american bittern that was found there yesterday. Eventually it actually got light. And then even more eventually someone spotted its head sticking up over the near bank. And then everyone got great views as it walked out into full view before heading back towards the ditch - a fabulous bird!

It was such a good bird that we took the kids to see it this afternoon. Sadly it wasn't quite as showy but we did see it. The kids yoyo'd from boredom to hyper-excitement when it showed and then back to boredom when it disappeared. Then they looked at a pheasant. Which was nice. Then we went home.

Monday, November 2, 2015


The last week has seen good numbers of firecrests all along the south coast, so I was pleased to bump into a couple in the willows down Marsh Lane. I even managed to jam a reasonable shot of one...

Fluke shot!
A couple of goldcrests were even more obliging although they were actually too close to follow with the 400mm lens! Managed a couple of shots that were almost in focus...

Don't zoom in!