Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Discovered this morning that I'd missed a few easy ones off the year list, hence stonechat (122).

Monday, September 28, 2009

same old, say mould

One of the buzzards was still knocking about the top fields this morning, before drifting off to get a pasting from the gulls. A golden plover flew over then, trying to convince me it was a year tick, before I remembered seeing a whole flock in the spring. The last bit of excitement was when a warbler popped out of the scrub down Marsh Lane, looking for a second like a mythical garden variety. Unfortunately when it showed properly and started calling, there was really no denying it was just a chiffchaff - new in, though!

3 buzzards (count 'em) were soaring over Galley this afternoon, with 8 chiffchaffs loitering in Dirk.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

more buzzards

Out first thing this morning, and had a/the buzzard heading out towards the lighthouse, over Long Strand. Caught up with it and another messing around together in the top stubble fields, but there was little else doing - 1 chiffchaff at Shite Lane the "best".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

not much doing

Two of us thrashed Galley this am but to little avail, with only 3 blackcaps and a chiffchaff to show for it. A 1st w med gull was on Long Strand late morning, while 2 black-tailed godwits circling low over fields near Shite Lane was unusual.

give us a buzz...

Very quiet today, but it just felt like something could drop in at any time! So, I did Galley twice, for the mighty total of 1 male blackcap, 1 chiffchaff and a rather fetching buzzard (121), which are getting commoner in Cork, but are by no means guaranteed as a patch year tick, so happy with that. A few more migs wouldn't have gone amiss though!

Friday, September 25, 2009


Caught up with yesterday's juvenile american golden plover at Muckross Strand this morning, courtesy of my two trusty stake-out agents - showing well it was too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

back to seawatchin...

A strong south westerly dragged the keenest seawatchers back out to Galley today, with 1 pomarine skua, c. 6 great skuas, 2 arctic skuas and 2 sooty shearwaters the best of it.

Here's a nice photo of last week's icterine warbler at Shite Lane, courtesy of Ciaran Cronin, before the Galley rare-fest is totally forgotten!

galley icky

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

no sign today

No sign of the bunting today, but it could easily still be lurking around, as it was pretty breezy this morning. The icterine warbler and turtle dove were both still bouncing around though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

more gratuitous bunting shots!

Here are some more shots of the black headed bunting, courtesy of Mike O'Sullivan, and very good they are too!

The icterine warbler was still around Shite Lane today too, but mobile.

Galley Bunting photos

The (stick me neck out!) black-headed bunting showed well first thing this morning, then again at 10.45 and then 14.00, largely disappearing in between. Hot news of the day was a 1st winter/female type golden oriole found in a nearby garden, before it booted off inland. An icterine warbler in the pines at shite lane was probably the bird from Friday, although could have been new? Not much else around, a couple of wheatears, and the odd willow warbler and chiffchaff booting about, and crowds of twitchers! Galley has become a self-perpetuating hot spot for rares - happy days!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

that bunting is back!

Got a rather breathless phone call late morning concerning the reappearance of Friday's black or red headed bunting - managed to get there before it went to ground again for the afternoon, and a few other birders also managed to connect with it, which was good. The bird did disappear for most of the afternoon, but showed again well early evening, so hopefully it's identification can be clinched from all the photos. The images below are courtesy of Owen Foley - cheers, fella! More images here

I'd say I'm plumping for black-headed, as there is some streaking on the crown, although this was quite hard to see in full-strength sunlight (I think you can see it on photo 3?), plus the wing bars look pretty whitish (not that obvious from these photos). Compare it to this bird on Fetlar in Sept 2006 here

Opinions welcome about this bird!

Friday, September 11, 2009


A bit of a frustrating day on-patch. Quiet enough on the first wander about, nailing 1 sanderling (117) for the year at Long Strand, with 2 turnstones, and 1 willow warbler , 1 whitethroat and yesterday's turtle dove knocking about. Heading up Marsh Lane, I flushed a largish looking passerine which flew up the lane & into the sycamores at Shite Lane - "shrike? wryneck?" -  but no, it was a big, plain looking bunting with a yellowy vent. "gammy greenfinch?" thinks I, stumbling closer. But then it slowly dawned on me that black headed/red headed bunting looks like that - could hardly hold me bins still for de shakes! Could see it had a lightly streaked mantle and a dirty lemony/green rump, but otherwise was pretty plain looking above, with a yellowy vent, a big, stout grey-looking bill, and a dark beady eye. It seemed settled, in a barley crop with sparrows, so I alerted a couple of other birders, and flaked home for the scope, back 10 mins later but it was never seen again! Feck! During the ensuing search, a hippo was called up, but it went to ground before we nailed it -  it looked long-winged to me, with very blue legs, and I'm having it as an icterine warbler (118), cos I'm short of year ticks, plus we had a spotted flycatcher shoot through too (119).  No sign of yesterday's coots on the lake this evening - didn't think they'd stay long.


Addendum: Using the Haig rule (see here) it is technically ok to patch year-tick today's bunting, as it was one or t'other (favouring black-headed personally - its range is nearly identical to yesterday's eastern olly on mizen!), provided I don't also year-tick a red-headed bunting, should one happen by! (120)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

autumn is upon us!

A green sandpiper from under the quilt was a good start to the day (114) - just managed to get to the window in time to see it hoof round the side of the house. Out to thrash Galley for migs then, which got me my first autumn turtle dove on patch (115), 2 chiffchaffs, 1 wheatear and 1 male blackcap - ooo migrants!

More excitement followed this lunchtime when 2 coots were found on Kilkeran Lake (116), showing well too!

late swift

A swift was over Long Strand briefly this lunchtime, drifting off south-west with a gang of mixed hirundines. Easily my latest one ever here, I'd guess. Caught up with yesterday's kingfisher too, sat on a post by the edge of the lake.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

not quite seawatch sw

A good sw blow this morning resulted in the highest balearic shearwater numbers for this year off Galley, with 15 between 8 and 11 ish. A juvenile sabine's gull was an early highlight, with 5 great skuas, 1 arctic skua, 8 sooty shearwaters, 6 common terns and 4 arctic terns also seen. Manx shearwaters were belting past at approx. 4,500 per hour, ish. A kingfisher was at Kilkeran Lake mid-morning.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

two long tails

A brief watch between 12.50 and 14.00 produced two adult long-tailed skuas and 9 sooty shearwaters past Galley. A longer watch between 14.45 and 18.15 produced 9 more sooty shearwaters and 4 storm petrels (thats about 3 sooties per hour - ho hum!) Needless to say, I was there for the long watch, but not the short watch. Bogie strikes again! Another 40 minutes this evening netted 1 arctic skua and 1 storm petrel. Can't wait for the first run of south-easterlies and the chance of some migs!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

semi-p for me!

Caught up with yesterday's semi-palmated sandpiper at Dunmore this evening, in a high tide roost of dunlin and ringed plover, opposite the west end of Inchydoney beach. It flew off with most of the rest of the flock at 18.15 though, as the tide dropped. Also this evening 1 grey phalarope and 10 storm petrels were off Galley.  One greenshank and 2 lapwing were on the lake shore late afternoon.