Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Old Head of Kinsale - Mark Shorten

I have being birding the Old Head of Kinsale since about 1975 when I found my first "rarity" - two Ring Ouzels. It was where I learned much of my birding. I have done winter and breeding atlas there, brought my current wife on our first birding date and fought against the construction of the Golf Club (and did a tiny bit of vandalism) so I reckon I can call it my patch.
Looking for migrants can be an exercise in frustration as with little cover there, birds move through quickly. Often during migration I only check a limited number of areas, mainly through time constraints (drop kids to school - run to Old Head run back to collect from school). Hopefully I will spread my birding out in terms of times and areas checked.
The Old Head has a nice variety of birding offerings:
  • sea watching can be superb, though access is by permit through the Golf Club.
  • a seabird colony with hundreds of Guillemots 
  • Mixed farmland with a reasonable amount of arable and a small amount of tillage.
  • There is little cover in most of the gardens, few trees and most hedgerows are sparse.
  • Two very busy beaches with small numbers of Dunlins, Ring Plover and Sanderling
  • Behind the beaches are two reed beds with small amounts of open water.
  • Old Head harbour a rocky area which is the best area for waders.
So far by 9th January and with 4 visits I am on 62 species 72 points. Highlights being Gadwall, Golden Plover and 3 Brent Geese - a patch tick. For the year a minimum of 120 I hope, to get 150 would be amazing. We will see.

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