February 28, 2013

Rosroe Lake and a glimpse of the Smew

 Rosroe Lake from up on the hill. The farmer who was most friendly  gave me permission to drive up and scope the lake

 The Rosroe Tower House close to the lake shore dates back to 1402 A.D , you could feel the past here and could imagine the scene back then.

I had given up hope of finding the Smew on the lake after 2 hours of watching Tuftys , Goldeneye and the Cormorants that were nest building in a dead tree, while walking away I stopped and looked behind me to see this small white duck emerge from the reeds 100m away ,it gave a wing flap and disappeared. A 10 second glimpse, but never the less my first male Smew.

February 27, 2013

Clahane Hightide roost

Glaucous Gull with Herring ,Black-headed & Common Gulls

An evening with very high tides,the high tide roost at Clahane can be a busy patch of reef, the incoming tide pushes the birds close to the road.
A nice flock of Golden Plover and 50 Brent Geese are joined by good numbers of Purple Sandpipers,Dunlin, Oystercatcher,Greenshank ,Redshank and Ringed Plover, and the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was with the usual Gulls.

February 22, 2013

A Brent Goose : A piece of its History

While at Clahane today there was a flock of 42 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, one of which I noticed was Colour ringed.I forwarded the photo and sighting to the Irish Brent Geese research group, and as usual you receive an interesting piece of info .

The bird 39LY was 1st ringed 19/5/2006 in SW Iceland.Trending to arrive for winter in october via Stragford lough ..moves south, mainly spending its winters mostly  in the Tralee ,Kerry area,also seen in Clare at Bartra in march 2008 and Seafield in 2009and 2012.

February 21, 2013

1st winter Glaucous Gull at Clahane

Yesterday I went to Clahane to see if the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was still about.
Lucky for me there were two Glaucous Gulls but one was quite shy and stayed out on the reef  to the right, I thought it was another 2nd winter type at a distance
Today I visited the area again and  the bird was on the beach and a closer look showed it to be a 1st winter type Glaucous Gull.
Still quite shy..but a  welcome visiter to our cove

February 18, 2013

Three Hawfinch

For several weeks now birders have had some excellent views and photos Hawfinchs on the ground feeding in the Curragh Chase.
Today I headed on down to the forest park, hoping to get better views than I got of these birds a few years back, sure enough 3 birds were feeding on the ground close to the playground.
Hard to approach ,the birds flit into the trees at any sign of disturbance and vanish . Staying still in cover ,Patience and Luck of where the birds may come down next is your only chance of a photo...
..Sometimes you make your own luck!
Sortly after a Kestrel came through the park and the Hawfinchs vanished for the morning.

Curragh Chase forest park

Curragh chase holds a nice tranquil park setting in the middle of a forest  of County Limerick.
Here at this time of the year the wildlife feeds in the leaf litter, Blackbirds and Song Thrush, listen and turn for worms. Chaffinchs and a handful of Hawfinch seek out seeds, The Squark of Jays, as for Red Squirrells, I dont know if there is a better place to see so many at close quarters..

February 15, 2013

Burrin Pond near Newquay

Grey Herons

Whooper Swans
Male Shoveler
Female Shoveler
I took a midday break from the goose chase and checked the pond near Newquay, Grey Herons were courting in their nests around the ponds, Shoveler, Wigeon and Whooper Swans were being harassed by the feisty Coots that were claiming their nesting territory.

Black Brant and Brent Geese

Martello tower , Aughinish
Pale-bellied Brent Geese heading to  the fields in Munnia 

 Black Brant in  flock of 275+ Pale-bellied Geese
Thursday I spent the day looking for the Black Brant that had been seen with Brent Geese near Newquay on the north coast of Clare
I checked the fields around  the shorelines , the reefs and the Loughs from Finvarra to Aughinish , plenty of Brent geese and other local birds but no Brant.
In the afternoon  small flocks of geese started to head to a field in Munnia where I was waiting. I had  been patient and sure enough the Black Brant joined the flock of 275+

February 13, 2013

Lesser Scaup x Pochard at Lough Murree

I headed out to Newquay and the Flaggy shore to see if any wildfowl was in the area. On Lough Murree
were a pair of Greater Scaup, a handful of Pochard, Tuftys and plenty of Wigeon  and a Hybrid duck  which had me confused, luckily  here I met Dermot Breen, who has a good knowledge of ducks and we observed the bird showing signs of  Lesser Scaup x Pochard.
Dermot writes an educated  description here :

Hybrid duck with Pochard

February 9, 2013

Ring-necked Duck

A Ring-necked Duck was with the small flock of Tufted Duck at  Lough Roo ,in the north of the Burren.
This was my 3rd visit here to look for this bird ,last time a 60 mph wind with hail storms halted my progress and before that heavy rain. Today was drizzly mist and frisky horses , but i was intent , and claimed my first photos of this North American visitor

February 7, 2013

Ravens on the move

A pair of Ravens were making their way north along the coast near Quilty.
The Herring Gulls gave them a hard time.

February 6, 2013


While at Clahane I noticed this Redpoll that had a Gold crown, Ive never seen this in Redpolls before.
After a bit of reasearch on the net , i found an arcticle.

Variations in the cap colour
First-winters and female Lesser, Mealy and Arctic Redpolls generally show a crimson cap, with varying degrees of brightness, though it is not uncommon for some to show orange, copper, yellow, even brownish caps, or any combination of the aforementioned. These colour variations are exceptionally present on adult male Lesser and Mealy, though is reported as common in captive bred birds.


Clahane visit

Glaucous Gull
A nice morning with a stiff north wind. The 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was still here 5 Stonechat were alog the high water mark and 2 Redpoll were feeding close to the road at the point.

February 3, 2013

A Bold Glaucous Gull

A bold  2nd winter Glaucous Gull has claimed a Seal carcass for itself on the high water mark at Clahane.
Other Gulls left the carcass to the bigger bird without challenge . Its big ,bold and that Seal is its. Not even my car and me made any difference to its claim, allowing close observation.