Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Keep the faith?

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Doonbeg, Clare August 2011

That's it for another year. I couldn't really title this posting 'Bridges of Ross 2011' because, well, I lost the faith and was only there a couple of days. Like last year - when I headed off early to explore other bits of Ireland - this year was a real letdown at the mighty Bridges. There just were not the birds around. Perhaps the lack of southwesterlies hadn't brought the birds far enough north in the Atlantic to be then brought down by the northwesterlies? Perhaps it's unseasonably cool? However, on Saturday there were some decent northwesterlies and what went past? Nada. The near Manx line was non-existent and those Grey Phals, Leach's and Sabine's of years gone by just didn't materialise. Some of the Irish lads went to Slyne Head this weekend and had 8,000 Sooties (plus a couple of Long-tailed Skuas and a Great Shear), so despite what I've just written, there are birds around. But Sooties were only in low double figures past the Bridges...
juvenile Kittiwake Bridges of Ross, Clare

So it was waders that saved the day. Well, they more than did that and a cracking juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper found by Clewesy was top notch looking nice and fresh on the beach at Doughmore, Doonbeg, Clare on Friday. The next day, I managed to scoop an Irish wader tick with a nice adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper reappearing on the incoming tide at Shannon Airport. And that was that for Clare.
Ring-billed Gull Black Rock Strand, Kerry

juvenile Sanderling (with adult in the background)
 A couple of days in Kerry were pleasant, but the weather was a bit too nice. It started nicely with an adult Ring-billed Gull at Black Rock Strand the first evening, and this was again present the next morning. Juvenile Sanderlings and Bar-tailed Godwits were passing through in massive numbers, while a fair few juvenile Med Gulls were around Tralee Bay and Dingle. We checked in at Rossbeigh and were surprised to find quite a few Common Scoters (predominantly drakes) but predictably the Asian rhino wasn't around just yet, presuming it'll be back at some stage. A nice Osprey drifted over Blennerville yesterday afternoon, while an adult Little Stint at Carrahane made us feel a bit cheated and a dozen or so juvenile Curlew Sands were noted too.
Osprey over Blennerville, Kerry
Bring on a bit of westerly weather and roll on some more yank waders. Autumn for me has officially started by the way. Each year the first juvenile American wader I see signals the start of the business end of the birding season. Roll on September.
The Skelligs - viewed from St. Finian's Bay, Kerry

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