Sunday, 16 February 2014

Irish trip day one - County Cork

It's February half-term now and that means the standard use of a week's holiday for gulling. This year, like in 2012, it's a little bit closer to home than last year's California trip. So true to form it's another week in Ireland. And with these winter storms, let's see what the damage is. After flying out late last night (after a pointless day seeing naff all in the way of herons in Kent), we hit Ballycotton early doors and encountered the 1st-winter Laughing Gull as soon as we arrived. It then duly obliged with a bit of baiting: -

1st-winter Laughing Gull Ballycotton, County Cork
There were also a couple of adult Glaucous Gulls present. Kinsale was predictably quiet, though there were a couple more Glaucous Gulls (an adult and a nice white juv - typical of a Nearctic origin), and then another Glaucous Gull and a couple of Med Gulls were about at Clonakilty/Ring. Usual stop off points at Rosscarbery and Ballydehob provided zilch in the way of notepadders, though the usual ritual of lobbing out bread at every site paid off at Bantry where a couple of 2nd-winter Ring-billed Gulls decided to take the bait: -

2nd-winter Ring-billed Gull Bantry, County Cork
It's pretty amazing how the same sites attract the same species year-on-year, as these two birds were in the same spot as a nice showy 1st-winter on my trip a couple of years ago. Anyway, back to today, and we headed down to near the end of the Beara peninsular where we managed to find the female King Eider (a mega Cork bird) sheltering in a rocky bay near Cahermore; there was also another adult Glaucous Gull here. It was also interesting and sad to find 1 few auks dead on the tideline, while the storms of the previous week were obvious throughout the day - tidal debris on roads and trees uprooted in loads of places. Back in Castletown Bearhaven, a couple of wingers revealed themselves in the near darkness - a juvenile Iceland Gull and yet another adult Glaucous Gull.

11 species of gull seen today. Not too bad an effort.

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