Thursday, 15 February 2018

Ireland day five - West Cork and Limerick

What a difference a day and a county line make. Today was a struggle, and I kind of thought it would be. West Cork is often not the best place for wingers, which are your staple pick me ups out here. From a British perspective, you feel like a site has been worthy of a visit if you see an Iceland or a Glaucous Gull. The lads out this way probably think differently mind. Anyway, I headed out from Kenmare in the early morning gloom and gave the pier there a go, to no avail - there was a Bonaparte's Gull there last spring and I've seen distant wingers here in the past. And then it was out onto The Beara peninsular, a place of fondness having seen Glaucous-winged Gull, Wilson's Warbler and Scarlet Tanager on it...

But today it was really quiet. I took the north loop in, with the only bird of note being a juvenile Iceland Gull northeast of Allihies as it fed in the surf at Dooneen. Nothing on Pallas Strand, Eyeries nor at Ballydonegan Strand. And the prize winter site here, the fishing port of Castletown Bearhaven (where the Glaucous-winged Gull was), was having an off day. Just two Iceland Gulls, a near-adult and a 2nd-winter, while I couldn't muster up the regular Ring-billed Gull at low tide.
near-adult Iceland Gull Castletown Bearhaven, County Cork 15th February 2018
And so to Glengariff, a site where I had some wingers a couple of years ago when I twitched the Glaucous-winged Gull. About fifty large gulls here today, none with white wings. And then on to Bantry and Ballydehob, both sites where I have seen several Ring-billed Gulls in the past. Today, I couldn't find anything of note with copious throwing of Supervalu 79 cent brown loaves. An expensive business for no reward!

With my flight back from Mayo tomorrow afternoon, it was time to head north and so that's what I did. With a pleasant stop in familiar territory late afternoon - O'Callaghan Strand, Limerick. And this proved to be the site of the day, with an adult Ring-billed Gull and four Iceland Gulls (an adult and three juveniles) being the reward. Ten loaves of bread were used here, two mine and then a random punter and his son turned up with eight loaves to feed the gulls!
adult Ring-billed Gull Limerick, County Limerick 15th February 2018

juvenile Iceland Gull Limerick, County Limerick 15th February 2018
So that was it - a quiet day with 'just' seven Iceland Gulls and a Ring-billed Gull. Just one morning left before it is back to Caspian and Yellow-legged Gull hunting.

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