Monday, 17 June 2013

Racking them up!

Working as a warden on the Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project has meant that I've been living on patch since the first week of May & added quite a few species to the year list. It has also meant that access to the internet on a laptop has been few & far between, hence the lack of recent updates.

In any case here's a run down of the highlights from 1st May-17th June:

(114) Kingfisher: single seen on several dates from 3rd May.
(115) Common Tern: first seen on 6th May, plentiful thereafter.
(116) Arctic Tern: regular sightings since 8th May.
(117) Roseate Tern: first seen on 9th May & present most days thereafter until late May. Peak count of 20+ on 10th May. Best Spring passage ever for them on the patch. Great views of some landing in amongst the Little Terns!
(118) Marsh Harrier: 3 different female/immature birds seen over weekend of 10th-12th May.
(119) Arctic Skua: dark phase birds seen offshore on 10th & 19th May.
(120) Short-eared Owl: one present in general area & showing well around wardens camp from 12th-19th May. Have seen summering birds here over past few years but never any indication of breeding.
(121) Storm Petrel: one on 12th May, 3 on 12th June & 8 on 13th June.
(122) Sanderling: Northbound passage kicked off on 13th May with peak counts of 70 on 16th & 71 on 26th May.
(123) Puffin: one South past The Breaches on 17th May & 13th June. Patch record count of 18 flying South past The Breaches on 11th June. Must be small numbers breeding on Bray Head & Wicklow Head?
(124) Long-eared Owl: amazing views of one hunting along the track by The Breaches railway bridge on the evening of 17th May. Bird of the year so far!
(125) Carrion Crow: a pure individual seen on 21st May amongst foraging flocks of Hoodies. Two hybrids also seen around that time.
(126) LITTLE RINGED PLOVER: one in Webb's field on 1st June showing well near the wardens camp. Only managed a few record shots. It hung about for half an hour or so then disappeared promptly after being chased by the local Ringos. Only the second I have seen on the patch (first was on 9th April 2000!).
(127) HOBBY: one flew East out to sea over the Little Tern colony on 5th June. Watched until it was a dot on the horizon line, heading straight for Wales! My sixth patch record.
(128) Little Gull: one 2cy flew North on 7th June.
(129) Knot: one 2cy flew North on 7th June.
(130) Cuckoo: female near the Little Tern colony on 16th June.
(131) Grey Plover: one 2cy flew North on 17th June.

Other sightings of note:
Pink-footed Goose: one in Webb's field from 25th May-4th June associating with an injured wild Icelandic Greylag Goose.
Common Scoter: several small flocks migrating North.
Great Northern Diver: 5+ individuals seen offshore throughout May & into June. Spring seems to be the best time for GND's on the patch.
Manx Shearwater: peak passage of c.2,150 North past The Breaches between 07:15-08:45 on 13th June. Great views close inshore.
Merlin: one female/immature on 1st May (have seen more Hobbys here in May than Merlins!).
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER: the 2cy bird was present in Webb's field up to 3rd May.
Mediterranean Gull: one 2cy on 19th May, 5 (various ages) on 7th June & one 2cy on 10th June.
Sandwich Tern: peak count of c.110 in Webb's field on 3rd May (no orange bills!).
Swift: some large flocks descending on Webb's field lagoon during cloudy/humid weather such as c.300 on 13th June. Oh for a Pacific amongst them! ;)
Stock Dove: pairs seen around Webb's & Stringer's farmland.
Yellow Wagtail: second male of the Spring in Webb's field on 3rd May, associating with Wheatears.
Wheatear: good count of 44 on 1st May.
Grasshopper Warbler: one on 1st May.
Reed Warbler: one singing in Webb's field on 8th & 17th June. Two singing at Ballygannon reedbed on 15th June,
Yellowhammer: flock of 8 seen around Webb's farm.
Spring passage of waders was quite good this year. Generally small numbers of birds present at any given stage of the day but throughout new birds were constantly seen dropping in & out. Peak day counts as follows: Golden Plover (65), Curlew (6), Whimbrel (86), Black-tailed Godwit (45), Redshank (2), Common Sandpiper (1), Turnstone (21) & Dunlin (120). The majority of the Dunlin appeared to be schinzii with just a handful of identifiable(ish) arctica & alpina noted. Lots of intermediates! Some of the Ringed Plover moving through also appeared to be from Arctic regions with a peak count of 13 'Tundra' types on 17th May. These birds were noticeably darker, fresher & more attenuated/slimmer than the local breeders. They also had a habit of arriving in a tight-nit flock & departing together again the next day!

So all in all it's been a good Spring on the patch leaving me on 131 species, 166 points & 84.91%

Short-eared Owl
Roseate Tern just outside the Little Tern colony fence!
Pink-footed Goose
Great Northern Diver (2cy?)

Little Ringed Plover in Webb's field on 1st June #patchgold

Long-eared Owl

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