Friday, 21 February 2014

Irish trip day six - Killybegs and Leitrim

We were on site at Killybegs first thing in the morning, ready for a good day's gulling. The previous evening, loads of trawlers were in and there were gulls swirling in the darkness. Exciting times. This place always gets me excited, as it brings back the good times, and was also part of my first Irish trip back in 1998. Those days of fish guts slopping around all over the place are long gone what with increased health and safety, but it was good to get the car stinking of fish for the subsequent 24 hours for old time's sake.
adult Kumlien's Gull Killybegs, Co.Donegal 21st February 2014
Anyway, as it turned out there were indeed loads of gulls but there was only a small percentage of wingers. We cruised around, spending time at the main pier, Mooney's boatyard as well as looking at the harbour mouth from the other side of the bay. Totals included four Kumlien's Gull (two adults, 2nd-winter and juvenile), 5 Iceland Gulls (adult, 3rd-winter, 2nd-winter and 2 juveniles) and 6 Glaucous Gulls (2nd-winter and 5 juveniles). Most memorable were a couple of the Kumlien's Gulls, a cracking dark-eyed, stocky looking adult on the rocks by Mooney's boatyard and a showy juvenile off the main pier mid-afternoon. 
juvenile Kumlien's Gull Killybegs, Co.Donegal 21st February 2014

It was also good to meet Gavin Thomas on the main pier, where an adult Little Gull was seen distantly - gull species number 13 of the trip.
juvenile Iceland Gull Killybegs, Co.Donegal 21st February 2014

juvenile Glaucous Gull Killybegs, Co.Donegal 21st February 2014
Heading south during the late afternoon, the drake American Wigeon was found on the shoreline at Drowes river mouth, Tullaghan - possibly the only bird I'm ever likely to see in County Leitrim. The hour or so before darkness was spent on a wild goose chase in Sligo, culminating in a couple of nice flocks of Barnacle Geese but little else of note.

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