Tuesday, 6 August 2013

July birding at Kilcoole

In contrast to the year-tick bonanza of May & June, the month of July went by as expected with relatively low numbers of new species added but those that were being good 'quality' ones at the same time. Nice birding in general too throughout the month & as such the summer 'doldrums' ended up much better than expected (although my hoped for Lesser Sand Plover did me a great injustice & decided to put on a show in Cork of all places!).

(137) Rock Pipit: a juvenile around The Breaches from 3rd-7th July. In recent years this has become a typical style of record for the patch, involving dispersing youngsters probably from nearby breeding sites at Bray & Wicklow Head. Used to get a pair or two nesting around The Breaches in years gone by.

(138) Green Sandpiper: one seen in flight & heard calling around the back channel of Webb's field & The Breaches on the evening of 6th July. Earlier than expected.

(139) Balearic Shearwater: one seen heading South with Manxies during a Seatrack survey at 19:38 on 20th July. Only my 3rd patch record of this species but one that is probably annual if enough time staring out to sea is put in.

(140) Pomarine Skua: one flying North at 17:40 on 31st July during a seawatch inspired by the events at Galley Head that afternoon! My 5th patch record.

Otherwise birding throughout the month went as follows:

Seawatching produced single Storm Petrels on 2nd & 8th, six Roseate Terns on 23rd plus an adult + juv on 31st, dark phase Arctic Skua heading South on 27th, single Puffin on 17th followed by 5 on 20th & 3 on 31st, two Red-throated Divers & a total of 172 Common Scoter across eight dates. Heavy sea mist on 22nd & 23rd pulled in 31 & 26 Arctic Terns respectively which are always great to see in flocks. Top notch birds!

Mediterranean Gulls were recorded on 20 dates during the month. In all, 38 birds were seen with a peak day count of 6. The first juvenile was noted on 20th (seems to have been a poor breeding season for them?). No doubt all heading for South Dublin Bay.

Juv/1st-winter Mediterranean Gull © Niall Keogh

Summering & post-breeding wildfowl manifested themselves in the form of 160+ Mallard, 18 Teal, 2 Tufted Ducks, 5 Gadwall & 3 Wigeon. An adult + chick Water Rail were seen running across a track in Webb's field on 6th & a juvenile Coot was seen with an adult in Stringer's channels on several dates. Good to confirm breeding for these two species. Little Egrets seemed to have had a good breeding season locally with a peak count of 25 in The Breaches on 25th including many juveniles.

Wader passage was excellent! Curlews peaked at 212 on 2nd & 330 on 6th, mostly heading South in small groups throughout the day. The Dunlin flock got up to a maximum of 217 on the 25th with the first juveniles seen from 23rd onwards. These were joined by up to 45 Ringed Plover. Good to see a high count of 14 Common Sandpipers on 18th, as they have been present in low numbers in recent years. Smaller numbers of other species recorded on & off, some dropping in only for an evening or during heavy sea mist (peak day counts in brackets): Whimbrel (3), Black-tailed Godwit (10), Bar-tailed Godwit (1), Redshank (9), Greenshank (2), Snipe (4), Sanderling (23), Knot (2), Turnstone (3), Golden Plover (1) & Grey Plover (1).

The world's worst Sanderling. Visibly smaller than accompanying Dunlin. I spent too long trying to turn it into something else. Damn that lack of hind toe! © Niall Keogh

The raptor highlight of the month was a ringtail Hen Harrier (probably a 2cy female) from 13th-18th. Only the 2nd I have seen on patch in July.

Passerines & co. were quiet enough as expected with the best being a singing male Reed Warbler still present at it's usual spot in Webb's field on 21st, flyover Grey Wagtails on 22nd & 27th, single Grasshopper Warblers around the Sea Buckthorn on 22nd, 23rd & 30th, the first returning Wheatear on 30th, 200+ Swifts on 29th & a hybrid Carrion X Hooded Crow on 9th.

So July ends with scores reaching 140 species, 178 points & 91.04%...

A good month for insects too including up to 7 species of bumblebee (Bombus lucorum agg./terrestris, lapidarius, jonellus, hortorum, pascuorum & muscorum), a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on 14th, the first Migrant Hawker of the year on 28th, a large emergence of Six-spot Burnet & a total of 12 species of butterfly (Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Copper, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown & Ringlet).

Dark Green Fritillary © Niall Keogh
Small Copper © Niall Keogh

No comments:

Post a Comment