Friday, October 15, 2010

ybw at last!

Sneaked down Dirk first thing (ish) while it was still calm. There didn't seem to be much about on the way down, but the big sycamore was hopping on the way back up, with at least 4 blackcaps and a silent yellow-browed warbler (136) - hooray! I've been scouring Galley for one all October, so was delighted to finally connect.

Had another bash down dirk about an hour later and was surprised to hear a yellow-browed warbler calling from the top garden - different bird? I wasn't sure, but conveniently, there were 3 visiting birders further down Dirk, and 1 of them had the 1st bird again, while we were watching this second one perform further up - result! Elsewhere, the ring ouzel was still around near the head, with a lingering whinchat and a couple more blackcaps booting around, but best of all was bumping into the wryneck again at Long Strand, sunning itself on a stone wall and shuffling about in the flax once disturbed - always good to see! Two whooper swans were on Kilkeran again this pm, before the mutes shoved them off.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a dip and a tick?

News of Irelands 2nd red-flanked bluetail and a possible collared flycatcher (1st Irish record) prompted an away day to Cape today. Didn't chance the early boats, but by the time we got in on the ferry, the bluetail news wasn't good - no sign at all, and it had been really showy the previous night. Oh well, hopefully there'll be another one soon!

Onto the flycatcher then! This was showing quite well, but was liable to disappear for periods, but luckily there were lots of photographers present allowing detailed views to be had afterwards. In the field, I could see a greyish nape, and there was lots of white on the wings but I'm no expert! On retrapping today, the bird clearly shows the diagnostic anchor marks on the rump and forehead (photos here), which, together with the wing measurements (right on the top limit for pied, in the middle for collared) and wing formula (P2 = P4/P5, not P5/P6 as in pied), is good enough for me! More photos of the bird in the field here.

Had a wee wander round the bogs and the bluetail pines afterwards, just in case, but didn't do better than yellow-browed warbler, ring ouzel & a heap of blackcaps. A grand day out in the end!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

another day, another wryneck

A slow start this morning, with much the same numbers and species around. Overall, I managed 3 blackcaps, 1 whinchat and 2 or 3 chiffchaffs, which wasn't quite what I was after. KC did a bit better, with yesterday's yellow wagtail and ring ouzel still around, plus the/a new lapland bunting too. Back home for lunch, during which I picked up a ringtail hen harrier flying low over the lake and surrounding fields - it seemed to be going after curlew, but failed.

By half-three I was bored of work, and had convinced myself there must be a yellow browed somewhere so off out again, stumbling into a wryneck almost straight away. Buoyed by this, I redid the Shite Lane area, turning up a pied flycatcher and another blackcap, seemingly new in from this morning.

Monday, October 11, 2010

a touch of naughtiness pays off

Another slog round Galley this morning, with not a huge amount new in, but loads of common stuff going through, mostly meadow pipits, magpies and blue tits - where were they going? The magpies were doing that thing where they fly out to the light and back - they seeem to like doing this on calm October days, like today (before it got windy again!). A fieldfare dropped into the sycamores at Shite Lane too, first of the autumn. I had 3 whinchats, the ring ouzel, and at least 5 wheatears, while chiffchaff numbers seemed higher today, with at least 12 knocking around. The spotted flycatcher was still at Shite Lane.

News of a yellow wagtail late afternoon lifted my spirits - have only seen two on patch, both in Sept 06, I think. A wee bit of naughtiness was required to have a chance of seeing it, but it paid off pretty much straight away as a lapland bunting flushed up with a load of pipits - my first one here since 2005 - result! No sign of the wagtail but I perservered and on round two it flew up, calling - excellent! Over the 100% mark for the year with 135! Happy days!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the struggle continues...

The north-east wind had dropped a bit this morning, but was still quite blustery. A 3.5 hour thrashing of Galley produced not very much new, with the pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher and 4 (ish) chiffchaffs still at Shite Lane, with 2 whinchats there & 2 further out on the head. Getting a bit desperate for year ticks, I resorted to scoping the lodge at Kilkeran Lake for a just off-patch male redstart, which I finally got after RM went and kicked it out for me - cheers fella! It was all a bit pintail-esque really, I guess, but desperate times and all that! Then twitched the ring ouzel up at the "sibe chat" site, which I hadn't seen earlier, but which eventually showed quite well. A couple of siskins over Long Strand completed the day's trio of hard-won year ticks (133), but still no ybw - maybe tomorrow, fingers crossed!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

more wind

If anything, the wind had strengthened this morning, as well as moving round to the north east. It certainly made birding at Galley tricky enough! There was no sign of the siberian stonechat, but a few other things were knocking around. I had blackcap, grasshopper warbler, whinchat, a couple of chiffchaffs and pied flycatcher in a 3 hour hoof around this morning, while spotted flycatcher, another pied flycatcher and a ring ouzel were also seen. Hopefully there'll be a bit more stuff in evidence once the wind drops and the sun comes out! Still blustery and wet tonight though, so fingers crossed more stuff is also still coming in!

Friday, October 8, 2010

sibe chat

There was a really good feel about Galley today - the roaring south-easterly and overnight rain might have had something to do with that! There weren't too many birds in evidence, but it felt like stuff was coming in all day. CC was out first, while it was still raining, picking up a grey phalarope over the stubble fields, and a whinchat, plus a few chiffchaffs. I got out mid-morning and had a turtle dove at Shite Lane (130), and the same few chiffs, but on hoofing down the top lane for a second time, there was a pied flycatcher, seemingly new in. Back at Shite Lane, a new spotted flycatcher was flicking around - that wasn't there earlier! Returning home for grub, I dallied with a bit of work, but it just felt too "rare" to be bothering with that, so headed out again. A black redstart at Long Strand and a willow warbler in the Shite Lane sycamores was more evidence of stuff arriving, but it was CC who got bird of the day - a fab siberian stonechat, out towards the light. I hoofed up for good views, but it was fairly flighty - cracking bird though.

Photos: C Cronin

Checking the relevant hong kong books of kung fu, this appears to be the 6th Irish record, with 4 previous in County Cork - pretty good going, and rarer than the yellow-rumped warbler still on Cape! Just a shame its not split...yet!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

yellow rumped warbler oml

After procrastinating yesterday and missing out, I tried to be good this morning and get a bit of work done, whilst waiting for news of the yellow-rumped warbler on cape. Was en-route soon enough, once the call came in at lunchtime that it was still there, and a slick operation involving SW and MOS got us off the very slow ferry, up to the bird, some cracking views in the blustery conditions, and then a spin back down to the ferry again - all achieved in less than an hour - couldn't have done it without their help - many thanks to both! There's a nice photo of it here!

Its blowing a howling south-easterly outside with drizzley rain - there's gotta be stuff at Galley tomorrow - can't wait!

Monday, October 4, 2010

mid-morning seawatch

Gave the sea a lash mid-morning, as a front was approaching, but despite a good south-westerly, there wasn't a whole lot happening - 10 sooty shearwaters, 14 manx shearwaters, 1 balearic shearwater, 10 common scoter and 2 bonxies was it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

no pg for me

Out for a couple of hours in the calm, sunny weather but one grasshopper warbler was all I could muster, unfortunately.