Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ross's for cork

After six hours standing around scanning Kinsale Harbour over 2 days last week, news that the ross's gull was back yesterday was a tad galling, if not entirely unexpected. As it turned out, I wasn't free yesterday but decided to give it a lash again today, although I only had a couple of hours.

There was no sign at Kinsale Marsh or on the estuary  - not a great start, but then this bird has totally failed to show any kind of a pattern so far, apart from being elusive! So it was back to my favoured spot near the Trident Hotel, where I'd spent nearly all my time last week (apart from a wee detour here - it was Kev's idea!)

Today, there was a small flock of mostly large gulls loafing on the far bank, with a small white thing beside them. I returned to the car for the scope to grill the small white thing, just in case. It was a plastic bag. Arse! But then, I just scoped a wee bit further along the bank anyway and Bingo - a small pink thing! Ker-ching! Score! Boom! etc. Momentary panic - do I reach for the camera? or phone? or just grill it in case it evaporates? I kept an eye on it while I put the news out on @corkbirdnews (everyone's favourite free news service for rare birds in Cork!), and then rattled off a few shite shots. And then it flew! Amayzing little thing in flight - really pink underneath and the tail was pink too! Fabulous!

What a cracker!
It zipped around in front of the hotel for a bit so I moved closer, before it flew right past me and landed on the water just in front of the very spot I'd been stood at last week - I ran back for some more hasty snaps...

It then flew back to the pier and hotel and at this stage some other birders were arriving and got on it. It continued to perform for a while before flying out to land on the water mid-channel and drifting off into the distance, round a small headland and away! After the runaround last week, I was delighted to have connected so well with the arctic tease!

Sadly, we noticed a bit of oil on the bird's belly, but it looks fairly light and hopefully won't affect it too much. Hope it stays around for a while and becomes a wee bit more regular in its behaviour!

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