Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Irish trip day four - Mayo

After the first three days were generally nice and sunny, it was back to typical mid-February Irish weather today. Heading out northwest from Galway early doors, we hit the usual Mayo sites as if it were September... but with no waders. Anyway, south Mayo produced a juvenile Iceland Gull in a field at Devlin South (just south of Roonagh) while the regular female Ring-necked Duck was located on Lough Baum in amongst a group of Tufted Ducks. The winter storms had taken their toll right across the area, with a lot of coastal flooding due to the sea breaching the usual flood defences. Roonagh and Cross Loughs were both really high, and birdless, except for a group of seven or so distant Barnacle Geese.

Heading around Clew Bay and onto Achill Island, things started to pick up. Mayo's never outstanding on the winger tally, but to see six on the golf course at Keel was a bit of a result - 4 Glaucs (an adult and three juvs) and 2 Iceland Gulls (a second-winter and a juvenile).
2nd-winter Iceland Gull Keel, Achill Island 19th Feb 2014

adult and juvenile Glaucous Gulls Keel, Achill Island 19th Feb 2014
Also still present was a rather showy first-winter Ring-billed Gull too. When in need of close views, despite the desolate landscape, just chuck out a bit of bread and see what happens...

1st-winter Ring-billed Gull Keel, Achill Island 19th Feb 2014
Once off Achill, and with the weather really pretty grim by now, there was no sign of the probable American Herring Gull from a couple of days ago near Carrowmore Lake, but the regular drake Ring-necked Duck was chilling out as was an Iceland Gull in the nearby fields. We managed to get ourselves down to Elly Bay on The Mullet for the last hour or so of light, and despite the driving rain, the 1st-winter Forster's Tern was roosting up on the beach and showing quite well. Bizarrely, the same place as I'd seen one 11 years ago almost to the day.

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