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...

Ka-blam!
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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