Tuesday, 14 February 2012

77 wingers so far...

I've been in Ireland since late Friday night, doing a bit of a tour along the west coast. Earlier today, the three of us (me, Alan C and Staines) hit Nimmo's Pier for a bit of a winger photo feast. Loads of signs up telling the locals not to feed swans etc with white, stale or mouldy bread so we whacked a load of wholemeal into the melee and got a pretty average 6 Icelands (4 juvs and 2 second-winters) and a couple of adult Ring-billed Gulls.
Mr Biscuit

Adult ringer - does what it says on the tin
We had a quick cruise west along Galway bay to Rossaveal where, amongst a load of Herrings, was a solitary juvenile Glaucous Gull; a pretty poor haul compared to what I've had here in the past. Rahasane Turlough was full of birds - 1000s of Wigeon and Teal - but no sign of the hoped for drake American Wigeon. We then headed into Clare, where the highlight of a rather tough afternoon was an adult Ring-billed Gull on the beach at Lahinch. No sign of any Surfers in the bay though.

I spent the previous three days up north, starting with a bit of a dip at Enniskillen where we had a go for the putative Thayer's Gull seen earlier last week. Sligo held half a dozen Iceland Gulls, including these bad boys on the river: -
adult Iceland Gull

a dopy looking juvenile Iceland Gull
There were 3 Richardson's Canada Geese at Ballintemple, Sligo - status quo for this fine site, in amongst the masses of Barnacle Geese. And Killybegs held 26 wingers too (20 Icelands and 6 Glaucs) plus a hybrid presumed Glauc x Herring.

Mayo was good value, and as we headed into the county on Sunday we stopped off in Balina where there was a fairly retarded 2nd-winter Ring-billed Gull complete with a pinkish toned bill and largely dark eye - plenty of the birds I saw in Canada back in December, and the vagrants I've seen over here previously, are much more adult-type in appearance.

What a retard
Just to the north, Killala Bay produced a quality Black Brant in amongst the Pale-bellied Brents as well as further Glaucs and Icelands.

Little and large

After another fitful night's sleep in accommodation (my mother and Karen will be proud!), we headed out to the wild, wild west and did The Mullet where there were wingers everywhere - Icelands seemed to love the fields where we saw 16 in total while the windswept coasts were where those big beastly Glaucs were hanging out, including one on a rather long dead whale carcass.

JJ had raved about a large, long-necked Canada Goose he'd seen a few weeks back at Termoncarragh and after a fair bit of searching we managed to find it in amongst a mixed bag of geese including 2 Tundra Beans (presumably an absolute mega Mayo record), 3 Greenland Whitefronts and a few Icelandic Greylags.
After the Mullet, we headed south taking in Carrowmore Lake where a couple of Ring-necked Ducks were hanging about with the Tufted Ducks, before heading onto Achill Island for the last couple of hours of light. Checking a fish factory was really disappointing, though there were a couple of Glaucs in the scenic setting of Keel beach before finishing off as per usual with the drake Black Duck at Sruhill Lough.

So, to date, nothing amazingly special but relaxing, good company and 77 white-winged gulls so far. See what the next few days bring - just doing this post from The Lighthouse Inn in Kilbaha with a decent pint of Guiness next to me...Loop and the surroundings in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. Not a bad haul. Dingle, Cahersiveen and C'townbere should produce for you.