Tuesday, 18 October 2011

mid-October blues

Faja Grande, Flores, Azores - I'll be right there on Sunday!

Ok, a lot has happened and hasn't happened since my last post. Hopefully you'll get what I mean. Firstly, I had a weekend in The Kingdom not the one just one, but the one before that. I met Garry. I've done a lot of marking of 'what are the global issues linked to trainers'. I've sweated on a Rufous-tailed Robin while having a thoroughly enjoyable time at my parents' 40th wedding anniversary weekend. It was an entertaining read on Turdforum this evening - loads of the usual suspects slagging off suppressors etc. Oh yeah, I'll be going west again soon and I can't wait.

The Irish trip a couple of weekend's ago was hard work. Not least, the weather. The whole of Dingle and The Iveragh were shrouded in fog for the whole weekend making solo birding even more solitary. Although a rendez-vous with those new skool twitcher-types at Ventry on the Saturday morning, including the legendary Baggers, allowed me to talk rubbish to somebody for the weekend. Although I was quick off the draw and managed to locate the Semipalmated Plover for our hero, just in time for him to spin his car round back to Dublin for the afternoon ferry! 'Some people never learn', as Garry's messiah would say.

Additionally, just outside of Shannon Airport I'd stopped by the roadside to have a chat with Staines, Adam W. and Dom D. when the Garda pulled up and asked what we were doing. We simply said we're exchanging information about rare bird sightings (the other lads had been in Mayo for a couple of days). Now, at gone midnight on a minor road, you'd have thought we'd have got more of an inquisition than 'grand, right ok then'? We didn't and they headed off into the night, just like us...

So what did I see overall then bar the Semi-p Plover? Well, Carrahane Strand was kind to me and there were a couple of juvenile AGP's in amongst the 700 strong Golden Plover flock on the Saturday a'noon; at least one of these was a new bird, neither were around the next day and trying to get close to Golden Plover flocks on flat mud makes one rather liable to joining the flushing brigade. There was very little else around Tralee Bay (and there hasn't been since) - even the longstaying Buff-breasted Sand did a Friday night bunk.

And what about The Iveragh? Well, that place that promises a lot. It promised a lot once again. Let's be honest though, one chap doing a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there isn't really going to even scratch the surface so it's unfair to say that I tried hard. As time was against me. Instead of the usual gardens I've done on Valentia, I gave Bolus Head a go in nice SW winds. It looks promising... some cover but not too much and slightly reminiscent of the Garinish/Firkeel area one peninsula down in Cork. Give it a go sometime, and just like on Achill where I started the damage this year it's one of my predictions that could pay off for a lucky grafter.

White-tailed Tropicbird... not in the WP
Anyway, at the end of this week I'll be off on my regular late October jaunt to the Azores. This can't come soon enough, especially as there are some west winds forecast, a certain tropicbird continues to linger on Flores and a duck also there may allow me to do a bit of 'list cleaning'.
The ultimate piece of dross? Or a wise yank that saw sense to go no further? The notorious Terra Nostra Wood Duck, Sao Miguel November 2008

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