Sunday, 6 January 2013

Kilcoole...Day 1!

My first patch visit of the year today got off to a bad start when, whilst walking down the Sea Road towards Kilcoole, a Crossbill flew over (giving a loud "chutt-chutt" call which I'm unfamiliar with), landed atop a conifer briefly & then promptly legged it! Well outside the patch boundary I'm afraid but would have been a good one to get on the scoresheet. I then spent the next 4 hours leisurely strolling around the Kilcoole end of the patch and despite it being a murky, overcast, cool & breezy day, it was nice to get out all the same.

One of the first birds on the list was a calling Water Rail at the BirdWatch Ireland Kilcoole Reserve. Checked the gardens & scrub around the train station car park & Ballygannon for passerines - House Sparrow, Siskin, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Mistle Thrush & Collared Dove were good to get 'out of the way' this early on in the game.

Offshore was rather quiet but produced a few nice bits such as 3 Gannets, a Tystie, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls & 2 Golden Plover passing south.

Lack of flooding in Webb's meant little variety there and despite the low tide, nothing much of note was to be found in The Breaches. A Peregrine, a Raven, 2 Kestrels, 170 Curlew, 7 Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin, 3 Shelduck, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Coot, 8 Little Grebes & 17 Redshank the best. Plenty of Teal to look through too. In fairness, the Raven was a good shout. They're rather unpredictable down here so good to see one straight off.

Spent a while scanning over Stringer's Channels, hoping the Bittern or at least a Hen Harrier would show. Nope! Did get a good look at the swan & goose flock though: 1 Pink-footed Goose, c.255 Icelandic Greylag Geese & 43 Whooper Swans. The Pink-foot has been around since October but again another good species on the year list from the get go.

Whopper big swans

7 Stonechats (incl. 3 pairs) at various points along the railway line was the most I've seen in here in a good while (they didn't do well off the back of those harsh winters a few years ago, even on the coast).

Bird of the day (patch wise) however was a Grey Wagtail in a yard literally on the boundary (I'm having it!). A very hit & miss species down here seeing as there are no fast flowing streams on site. They're generally only seen in July during post-breeding dispersal or in October when a migrant might buzz over. 


So that's 59 species, 68 points & 34.8% gleaned so far. Still plenty of common stuff to pick up on (like Moorhen & Meadow Pipit!) so will be back down mid week when the weather settles.

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