Monday, 15 April 2013

The Open Gate

Spent the weekend at Ballycotton, as the first true taste of spring migration hit.

I was a tad irked (effed and blinded to be honest) that Denis O'Sullivan dug out a Little Ringed Plover at the lake mid week (Right where I predicted it would be), and was eager to head down in the hopes of seeing it.

South easterly winds with rain lent hope to some decent migration, and we were not disappointed.

Starting off at Phil's back passage, we walked straight into a mini fall of Phyloscs, with Willows and Chiffs singing along the track. Swallows started to stream over, and I picked up a female Ring Ouzel mooching along the back hedge at Phils, a very good Ballycotton bird.

From here we worked the rest of the village, but it was not as productive.
We then moved onto the lake.

Gull numbers have been gradually thinning out, and now the Great Black Backed population outnumbers other species in the roost. No evidence of any waders or duck moving, though the Pintail was still present, but the first House Martin of the year went by towards the back bog. When we checked this we found a number of Hirundines, including Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin.

We then braved the beach, where we picked up the first Wheatear on patch (AT LAST), and Hanna picked up a nice fresh tree pipit. Birds were falling before us.

We then legged it back to the city to watch Leinster beat down Munster, as it should be.

We made it back down on Sunday, in much brighter sunnier conditions. But the shift in wind to a south west, meant migration was stalled entirely by comparison. A seawatch off the cliffs produced thousands of Manx streaming past, and a surprise 1st year Little Gull moving by also.

Phil's back passage had cleared out completely, and the village had just 2 Swallows hunting least until a rather nice Hobby, cruised along past Skinnys, and on towards the cliffs.

Hobby is one of those birds that epitomizes spring to me. Long considered "rare" in Cork. I have found them to be regular from Spring to Autumn, so long as one simply looks up...

A great weekend with 9 year ticks, 117 species, a score of 155 and comparative score of 65.77%.

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