Sunday, 20 January 2013

South Dublin Coast - Week 2

Having finally shaken off the cold from last week, I finally got a chance to do some birding on the patch. I started Saturday morning with a quick scan of Killiney Bay, which added a couple of local scarcities in the form of single Red-throated Diver and Shelduck. There was little else around so I moved on to Coliemore Harbour for an hours seawatching. Never having done any seawatching from here during the winter months, I was intrigued what may be around, especially with weather conditions quite favourable (moderate SE winds with on/off sleet). As it turns out, there was a small passage of Auks and Red-throated Divers, as well as seven Mediterranean Gulls and two Kittiwakes moving south. Not bad for January.

Purple Sandpipers occur in small numbers around the Dalkey Islands during the winter and I was delighted to find two feeding with Turnstones amongst the seaweed on Lamb Island. Further patch ticks included Grey Heron, Common Gull and Black Guillemot. Non-birding sightings included a Porpoise and about ten Grey Seals hauled up on Dalkey Island.

Dalkey Island
After almost freezing solid during the seawatch, I was glad of the walk to Bullock Harbour. Linnet, Goldcrest and Collared Dove were welcome patch ticks along the way. The harbour held the usual array of Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, as well as 11 rather tame Turnstones. Two or three Mediterranean Gulls were also mixed in amongst the Black-heads. One of the reasons I chose to include Bullock is to keep better track of the ringed Gulls which regularly turn up here. There were two present this week, a third winter Herring Gull (OJH) and a first-winter Great Black-backed Gull (1KH), both blue darvics.

Looking from Bullock Harbour towards Howth
Larus uglii
Sunday morning brought another patch tick in the form of Redwings, with several small flocks seen flying south along the coast during the day (displaced by the snow in the Dublin mountains and further up the coast?). At lunch time I headed over to Shanaganagh Beach, hoping for one or two Little Gulls blown in on the easterly winds. Three white-winged gulls were amongst the gulls feeding offshore, unfortunately Mediterranean rather than Little. A couple more Gannets and Red-throated Divers were about the best of it in worsening weather conditions. At least the garden contributed a patch tick in the form of Redpoll, with the female Brambling putting in another appearance at the feeders.

The totals for the first two weeks then are 55 species, 66 points and  55.56%.

Shanganagh Beach looking towards Bray Head

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