Friday, October 25, 2013

YBW action

Gave Galley a good thrashing today in lovely conditions - lovely & calm, with just a hint of a south-east breeze, after c. 18 hours of strong SE & rain.

Around the lighthouse road, chiffchaff and black redstart were clearly new in, while a mobile yellow-browed warbler was in the blue house garden (& then Old Spoon's new garden - oops!).

Failed to dig anything out in Dirk, but Shite Lane held another 2 (count 'em) yellow-browed warblers and c.8 chiffchaffs. A good few meadow pipits & skylarks were flying over too.

Good to finally see a few YBW at Galley this autumn - been a while coming!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


North-easterlies again, so gave Galley the works this am. Not a whole lot doing but did manage to glean two ring ouzels out of it (140). Here's one of them (just for Jono)

A plastic garden ornament
Another two whooper swans arrived on the lake late afternoon - All good!

Friday, October 11, 2013

er fins and a dragon

Had a leisurely hoof-about on Galley today with lots of non-birdy action. As I wandered down the top lane I could see a heap of gannets out at sea so had a quick scan - some blubber blowing! Hoping that they were yesterdays humpback whales I hurried home for the scope and returned in time to see some leaping about as well as lots of blows - humpbacks fins all right! I dunno, did see a couple of animals leap right out of the water but in retrospect I think they were probably breaching minke whales as fins very rarely breach. I was reasonably convinced that they were humpies but Mr Barnes was out in the Holly Jo & could only see fins so best retract that record! Moving on...

Retracing my steps up the lane I flushed a pale looking dragonfly with a very obvious blue patch just at the base of the abdomen. I took a few shots and confirmed later that it was a vagrant emperor - a bit of a mega with only a handful of Irish records. There's been a small influx lately with 2 in a moth trap near Red Strand and a couple more further afield but this one appears to only be the 7th Irish record - amayzing! Rarest thing I've found on Galley for a while!

male Vagrant Emperor, Galley Head 11/10/2013
Did finally track down a few migrants at Shite Lane, but couldn't do better than blackcap, a handful of goldcrests, and a chiffchaff or 2. However, the year list was blessed with a fine whooper swan on the lake this afternoon, taking it to a heady 139.

Friday, October 4, 2013

things fall in my lap

Slogged the patch 1st thing but couldn't do better than an arty wheatear

Arty ear
Had pretty much given up for the day and was enjoying a late lunch when I noticed something small flying around over the lake. A quick squizz through the bins revealed a juvenile black tern hawking around - only my 2nd one at Galley - fantastic!

boy with a tern

Shortly afterwards, whilst doing me moffs, I got a call from CC who was watching a female marsh harrier over the lake. After some headless chicken moments, a couple of laps of the house to gather me thoughts and a scopeful of a buzzard I eventually got on the harrier as she soared around and gradually drifted off north-west. First one for a few years for me here.

News of a serin at Mizen Head got me seriously twitchy, and after a very brief dalliance with work, I gave in and hoofed down there. Success!!

a serin earlier
2 good patch year ticks and an irish tick in the same day - all good!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

more migrant fun

Had a whole day to hoof around Galley and I enjoyed every minute of it! Got off to a good start right away as I banged into a shrike just round the corner from home. It took a while to pin down, as it was booting around a lot & the strong sunlight was making it look really pale, but with a few extra folk looking for it, it eventually gave itself up as another juvenile red-backed shrike - nice!

Tried for a wryneck in Dirk that was seen this morning, but waaaaaaaaay too much cover! However a spotted flycatcher was in there. As the rain began to close in, we picked up another spotted flycatcher on the cliffs, which hadn't been there long - fresh arrivals! Exciting! A male redstart sheltering in a garden was my first for the year - probably just less than annual here, so a bonus for the patch total this year. At least one whinchat was still hanging about around the top lane fields too.

Managed to finally get reasonable shots of one of the wrynecks that has been hanging around for a few days, before we bumped into a new bird on Marsh Lane. Pretty sure there was at least 4 different birds today, and possibly 6 or more over the last week. Reckon I can legitimately count finding 3 different birds so far this autumn - a good year for them! 

reed warbler and a male blackcap were also in the valley.

With the wind finally going away from the east for the first time in about 8 days, these birds may move off again, but there's a fair bit more rain due tomorrow, so there's still a chance of some more migrant action, once it dries up again - we shall see!