Friday, March 30, 2012

Night heron treasure hunt

Today I was Anneka Rice for a while! Got a call about an adult night heron in skibbereen late morning and had a tricky decision to make as I only had an hour before the school run. And skib is 30 mins away. Feck it. I went. And skib is actually only 20 mins away! Who knew?

Anyway, with the town centre jammed, and the clock ticking, I switched to HMU mode (highly mobile unit). Hoofing along the pavement, knocking grannys out of the way, whilst on the phone to Julian for directions, I realised I was Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt - that tedious race-against-the-clock pointless excercise that used to be on Channel 4 years back. Just as the clock was nearly run down, I found the secret passageway that Julian was on about, and hey presto - there he was! Shortly afterwards, once I'd stopped gasping, I even managed to see the heron!

Yes indeed, back in the territory of piss-poor record shots! Bird duly ticked, it was back to the jogging and cursing and knocking over grannys all the way home, and even made it to the school with 2 minutes to spare. Happy days.

Monday, March 26, 2012

red-flanked bluetail!!!!

Cripes! What a day! Birding wasn't much of an option this morning having been up with a sickly child all night, but a call from CC just after getting out the shower changed all that... "Drop the kids, there's a female red-flanked bluetail at Shite Lane!!" I think I was there about 3 minutes later, luckily I'd had the foresight to get dressed first!

 A nervous few minutes while I put the news out on corkbirdnews - hands were definately a bit shaky, while we waited for it to show again! And then suddenly, there it was! A bluetail! On Galley! Fantastic! Ireland's 3rd record and the first one in spring, on me feckin patch! Wowzers!

The rest of the day passed in a buzzy blur! Wandered out again after lunch for another look at it, and again it showed really well after a bit of a wait. Hearty thanks to CC for finding it and providing these shots for the blog too. The bird was still present this evening but will it break the mould and stay for a second day (the previous two haven't...)

Photos copyright Ciaran Cronin

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Patch Jam

Birding time was very limited today. Was out for an hour or so first thing this morning, but to be honest it was only really light by the time I'd finished - nothing in the bag at all. Mid-morning the lake caught my eye, and I wandered out to scan it, thinking that there really should be a shelduck on it. Bingo! There was one harassing some lesser black backed gulls - excellent! 10 minutes later, when I scanned again it had vanished!


The next bit of luck was even more jammy. A quick glance out the upstairs jax window prior to answering a call of nature revealed 2 male blackbirds having a go at each other on the garden wall. Only one looks like its got a white crescent on its breast. A quick scramble for the bedroom bins and Bingo again - ring ouzel! (79). What a cracker! He flew up on to the phone wire and then quickly back down to the same area, landing just the other side of the wall. Only my second spring bird here, and they are tricky enough in autumn. My luck today was definately in! Maybe I should try for something even more exotic tomorrow?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Winter v spring

Had just arrived at Shite Lane when a loud "nyeh" had me jumping off the bike - brambling! (77). It called a couple more times from the trees, showing well, before heading off. My 1st spring one, and I'd guess they are quite unusual at this time of year. Usually fairly scarce in autumn and not guaranteed so a good bonus for the patch challenge.

That was pretty much it though, not many signs of proper spring migrants!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ello willow ello

A bit more mig action at Galley this morning in the form of a singing willow warbler at Shite Lane (76), with a handful of chiffchaffs around too. Hopefully get a bit more in tomorrow, as the south-easterly continues.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The ears have landed

After several days of thrashing the patch (or at least the likeliest bits) I was finally rewarded this morning with a cracking male wheatear, which was followed by another on the way home. A female was also there this pm, while a chiffchaff in the garden was another sign that things are getting through! There's been a few additions since my last post, namely stock dove, merlin and common scoter, which with the wheatears makes 75 for the year to date. Getting there!

This iceland gull was hanging around with some common gulls in the field next to the house this afternoon, allowing more much-needed digi-scoping practice to be had!

and this was the stock was quite far away

and while yer on, here's a v dodgily "enhanced" redwing - know your limits!