Tuesday, February 22, 2011

bonxie on de lake

A casual scan of the lake mid-morning produced a bit of a surprise in the form of a large dark blob sitting on the water! A check through the beaten-up house scope necessitated a move outdoors and the big scope, when all was revealed - a rather knackered looking bonxie! (72).  Although regular on passage off Galley, mostly in autumn, I haven't seen one in winter here, and certainly not on the lake! He hung around for about half an hour before getting up and lumbering through the garden airspace on his way back out to sea, pursued by a bunch of meddling gulls.

A couple of other easy year ticks of late, with kittiwake & the Dirk wintering whimbrel both netted recently.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

look at that mealy moulying

as they say on Shetland. Think that might be something to do with fulmars though, of which I saw none today. Did finally catch up with the Connonnagh mealy redpoll, which was nice! Had cracking views of it on the bird table and up in the trees around the garden this afternoon, while child number 2 slept in the car, blissfully unaware. Sometimes sneaky twitches work out grand!

Also gleaned another year tick this morning, when I spotted a merlin hunting over the fields by the house (67). Moving along nicely now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

some year ticks at last!

Finally got round to reinstating the bird table this morning after it got knocked flat in the recent gales. My luck was in too, as while refilling the feeder, I heard an unfamiliar call. It took a few seconds before I twigged - yellowhammer! Yes boy! Luckily, I'd brought my scope out to scan the lake, so was able to grill it in a bush before it flew off. A good one for the year, as there's usually only a couple of records at Galley in a year.

A sparrowhawk flashed through the same area this lunchtime, perching on a post long enough to nail it. Two year ticks in a day, after weeks of nothing! Maybe the midwinter lull is nearly over? 66 and counting...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

making a meal(y) of it

went for a look at a likely mealy redpoll today, near Connonagh. Although not split from lesser, unlike the UK, its still a good bird for Cork! The bird has been coming to feeders in a garden since early Jan, but until today hasn't been photographed. Shots are viewable here. Did see some lesser redpolls but the incessant wind and rain proved most unhelpful. Maybe tomorrow, if it ever stops raining!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

patch predictions

As the birding has been so slow lately, I thought I'd try my hand at predicting the next 3 patch ticks for Galley, to give me something to aim at this year...

Prediction 1: alpine swift - I've seen 3 in Ireland; 1 in the north and 2 out of HH's famous five in Cork City, but the nearest I've got to one at Galley turned out to be a peregrine! Obviously early spring is favourite, and I can just imagine one scooting around over Long Strand and the lake - not long till March now....

Prediction 2: rosefinch -  perhaps a surprise choice, but I've only seen 1 in Ireland, on Cape in the early 90's. Mizen, Cape and even the Old Head seem to get them pretty regularly, but again, not 1 i've had a sniff of at Galley. After getting my first ones for about 12 years on Shetland last autumn, its definately time for one here, and I reckon either the fields around Shite Lane or the Top Lane in September are the best bet.

Prediction 3: garden warbler - another glaring omision from my Galley list! Had a possible last October that flushed out of a bramble patch but never really got on it so would be good to nail one properly! Perhaps not the most exciting find I could go for, but I think I've only seen a couple on Cape since moving here - desperate times! 

Wonder how it will all pan out?