Sunday, 28 April 2013

Yank wader on the scoresheet!

Decided to head back down to the patch today instead of going for the usual Sunday birding trip to Wexford. With a few Whinchats popping up on the East coast I was eager to see if one could be found by the ruins at Six Mile Point (Whinner is one of my most obvious patch bogeys).

Arrived at Blackditch ECNR with Brian Porter at 08:30am to find a Grasshopper Warbler still reeling away, a nice flock of 20 Wheatears on the coastal fields (no sign of the Yellow Wag), a flyover Whimbrel and lots of warblers still singing in the reedbeds/birchwood (20+ Willows, 2 Chiffers, 7 Sedgies & 5 Blackcaps). A pair of Whitethroat (112) chasing each other about at a traditional territory site at the North end of the reserve was nice to see. Always enjoy good views of these birds.

 Male Whitethroat 

We later joined up with Noel Keogh at Kilcoole train station car park and checked out the Reed Warbler site at Ballygannon where 3 birds are now in song (some seen in flight too). There was a great sense of anticipation in the air as we birded South along the coast, lots of waders dropping in on the marsh & a nice assortment of feeding warblers in the Sea Buckthorn. Tallies as follows: 4 Whitethroats, c.25 Willows, 2 Chiffers, 4 Blackcaps, 7 Sedgies, 4 Swifts, 22 Wheatear, 10 Whimbrel, 2 Barwit, c.195 Blackwits, c.275 Golden Plover, 19 Redshank, 4 Turnstone, 37 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpipers, 5 Light-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Greylag Goose, 6 Shoveler, drake Gadwall, 11 Teal, 3 Wigeon & 16 Little Terns.

Singing Skylark

On the way back, a final scan over Webb's field revealed some feeding Golden Plover which had broken away from the main day roosting flock. One of the plovers looked distinctly grey and slim as it ran over a grassy mound and onto the lagoon shoreline, out of sight. Dam!

It popped its head up a few times showing off a whopper supercilium and a long, thin bill giving a Dotterel like impression, but it was clearly a Pluvialis. After a few tantalising views scurrying about in the grass, the bird finally ran out into the open for all to see...a cracking 2nd calendar-year AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER (113). Well, there was hardly a notion of colour on the bird, but what it lacked in dazzle it made up for in structure. Even the most stunning breeding plumaged European Golden Plovers nearby looked like fat blobs in comparison to this elegant & sleek wader!

This bird represents the fourth AGP I have seen on patch (ticked my first here in June 1996) and the third Spring in a row where yank waders have been recorded at Kilcoole.

Onwards & upwards!

113 species, 140 points & 71.61%

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