Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ears and hammers

Not been an awful lot of variety going through Galley of late. Did stumble across a few wheatears the other morning - the first photo opportunity I've had this spring.

A few were bathing in the recently refreshed puddles down the top lane.

Couldn't resist another go at the showy male yellowhammer - cracking birds!

Monday, April 20, 2015

hammer time

The first few years of stomping round Galley revealed that yellowhammers were mucho scarce in these parts, with only one or two sightings a year. In recent times, birds have been hanging around in winter, and, during the last year of the bird atlas, one male was even singing for most of the summer. In the last two years, there have been two to three pairs breeding, and hopefully numbers will increase again this season.

Here's a nice male I got quite close to this morning...

You can't touch this
Quiet on the mig front though, with only a couple of blackcaps and a handful of willow warblers and chiffchaffs knocking about.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Gave Galley a good going over this am, but with a pretty stiff easterly blowing, it was pretty hard work! Managed to dig out three year ticks though, with house martin, sand martin and a fine brace of collared doves (scarce here) for my efforts (83). As well as these kwality prizes, a few chiffchaffs, willow warblers and a blackcap were knocking about Shite Lane, while a wheatear was on the top lane.

dove from above

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hoopoe invasion

The last few days have seen unprecedented numbers of hoopoes being reported all along the south coast of Ireland, from Wexford to Kerry, with many sites having multiple birds. Being stuck inland supposedly working while having to put out many of these reports on @corkbirdnews was doing my head in, as the one site that was still blank was Galley. Knowing there weren't likely to be any other birders covering it (underwatched in spring, innit), I cracked and headed home early. By 3.45 I was thrashing the patch, trying hard to think like a hoopoe.

An hour and a half later, with just a handful of wheatears and chiffchaffs, and a single black redstart to show for my efforts I was getting edgy. News of another two hoopoes 3 miles away in Ardfield was really galling, and after shouting aloud "there has to be one here", finally one flew up in front of me - Huzzah!

"You ain't seen me, roight?
After snapping a few proof of life pics, I hurried on to check the last few possible spots where a second bird could be hiding but no luck. Still, one hoopoe is plenty to be going on with, so I went back to try for more shots.

"What are you looking at?"
Eventually left him to it, and headed home. My first one here since 2004, when me & "Old Spoons" found one each in the spring. Corking birds!