Tuesday, 8 January 2013

About time

First scramble around the patch

After wallowing like a whale on the couch at home in Youghal over New Year, surrounded by lazy pets in front of a blazing stove, I finally swayed back to Tralee on Monday morning. Who ate all the pies over Christmas? I did. That is it now though, back to student life for another year.

I should have made it down on Sunday morning for a blast around the patch, but an uncomfortable blend of fullness, laziness and the fear meant that I stayed at home for an extra night of tea and chocolates. Shame on me indeed, but the weather was woeful all day Sunday, so it would not have been very pleasant on the patch.

At this stage anxiety levels were rising steadily, so when the sun finally came out today I made a burst for it. I only managed to squeeze in 45 minutes over lunchtime, but it allowed me to get a few scores on the board.
I went directly to the point just west of Blennerville windmill, where there is an old pier that offers good views around the inner bay. It is great spot for getting distracted by walkers and loafers, some friendly and some not so much. Emigrant ships used to leave from here in the past. Unfortunately it is now a popular fly-tipping spot.

Curlew, lapwing and teal (I swear) on the salt marsh east of Blennerville bridge. 

I gobbled down some lunch while making note of the few birds that were around. The tide was almost full and there were brent geese and teal out on the water. Some common wader species were ticked off along the shore at roosting spots. A flock of golden plover wheeled around for a few minutes at the other side of the bay. Four “guardians of the march” (redshank) came zipping through, calling as they went. Once lunch was successfully inhaled I got out of the van for a better look around. Curlew and black-tailed godwit were present in the fields, along with good numbers of lapwing and oystercatcher

Gull roost

Early singers, in the form of a robin and a song thrush kept me company until a local man came along to chat. We discussed the car seats and fireguard that were dumped in the last couple of days as we watched small flocks of brent honking around the bay.

Away back towards town, taking in the salt march along the way. A little egret was all that was added there, so I carried on to the wetland centre for some gulls. The first year and adult ring-billed gulls that have been around for the last few weeks were both present and it was nice to get them banked. The adult bird was within 10 meters of me, so even I couldn't miss. I am getting dangerously fond of gulls. Beastly creatures they are, but there is good learning to be had watching them. I even managed to get a few dodgy-scoped images. I must sort out my digiscoping set-up soon - hovering over the eye-piece with my Olympus ‘Tough8000’ doesn't really cut it.

Ring-billed gull (ad) and black headed gull, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre

It was a quick hit and I ended up with 29 species (34pts), bringing me to 27.6%. Hopefully the weather will be favorable at the weekend and I can get out for a few hours. Plenty more common birds to chalk down.

Action down at wetland centre

Giddy Up :)


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