Thursday, 20 February 2014

Irish trip day five - The Mullet

It was another good day out west today, and we were lucky with the weather too. Anyway, the day was spent on The Mullet and amongst other things one of the highlights was a quick cup of tea at Dave Suddaby's place - gripping tales of where the Cedar Waxwing buzzed about etc etc and a genuinely top bloke. So much quality too, dead and alive. Here's the dead one first.
American Purple Gallinule - found dead at Carne golf course on The Mullet on 2nd Feb 2014. Since then, it has been residing in a freezer awaiting sending it to a museum.
The day started off at Termoncarragh Lake, where a pretty smart drake Black Duck was showing. I like them anyway. A juvenile Iceland Gull was chilling on the lake too. Heading to the south, there was an adult Glauc and juvenile Iceland Gull at Fallmore while nearby in Blacksod Bay the female King Eider showed distantly along with copious amounts of Great Northern Divers and half a dozen Purple Sandpipers.
Juvenile Glaucous Gull, Cross Lough, The Mullet 20th February 2014
Heading back up The Mullet, there were a load of Glaucs still hanging about; the total was well shy of the staggering 40 from last week but there were four (two adults and two juveniles) in the Cross Lough area, and a further seven at Belderra Strand (including an adult, a second-winter and five juvs) as well as a juvenile Kumlien's and Iceland Gull. Annagh beach was quiet, though there was still another beast of a 2nd-winter Glauc. Lobbing a bit of bread out at the harbour in Belmullet town attracted a decent enough adult Ring-billed Gull.
adult Ring-billed Gull, Belmullet, Co.Mayo 20th February 2014
Slightly further east, near Barnatra and Carrowmore Lake we checked out the gulls in the fields mid afternoon and no sooner had we arrived were we confronted by what was presumably the probable American Herring Gull reported a few days ago. The bird seemed to show all the classic in flight traits of the species - all black tail (except for a bit of shelling on the outermost tail feathers), nice greater-covert bar and heavily barred uppertail and undertail. On the deck its tertials were nice and plain brown too. Its primaries though were pale-tipped and seems slightly hoary in terms of its overall colouration. However, this all seems to apparently fit within the variation of a northern, Newfoundland bird. Additionally, the bill was pink-based though feeding in cow shit all day didn't really let you see this feature too well.

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