Started up a new, non-comparative local patch birding site for PWC2014 today, three suburban parks close to home (South Dublin Parks - Kilbogget, Cabinteely & Clonkeen). A site synopsis can be found here.
It was absolutely chucking it down first thing this morning. Ideal for gulls on the sports pitches at Kilbogget! So I donned the wellies & wet gear and battled out the door. Well worth it in the end as there was a nice mixed flock of 128 Oystercatcher, 180+ Black-headed Gull, 28 Mediterranean Gull, 48 Herring Gull, 13 Great Black-backed Gull, 9 Common Gull & a 3rd-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull feeding away on invertebrates flushed to the surface of the grasslands. The Oyc count was an all time high for the site as far as I know & the LBBGull was a good one to get in winter.
|Kilbogget gulls & Oycs|
The wetland at Kilbogget held 18 Teal, 2 Coot, 3 Little Grebes and best of all a Cormorant (infrequently seen here). Continued on in the rain to Clonkeen to check the pitches & river there. Much quieter with Little Egret & Grey Wagtail added plus another couple of Med Gulls.
After a hearty New Years Day fry up & pot of tea back home, the rain cleared and I headed back out to Kilbogget to look for common passerines which would hopefully be out & about after such dismal conditions. Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Greenfinch, Linnet etc. were all found with ease and a female Blackcap spiced things up. A short break daydreaming/staring blankly at the wetland resulted in a fortuitous glimpse of a Water Rail flying across the water from an island into some bullrush. Result! There's been at least one in here for the past couple of winters but I wasn't expecting to get it this early on in the game.
Then popped over to Cabinteely Park in the afternoon and jammed in on a Fieldfare (by no means guaranteed around here) & a nice flock of 15 Redwing as well as the resident Mute Swan & another Little Egret on the pond.
|Cabinteely Park pond|
All in all a great start to my local element of PWC2014 with 47 species clocked up (50 points). The target for the year is about 70 species so likely to slow down considerably from here on in but I didn't get any raptors, Siskin, Treecreeper, Collared Dove etc. today so at least there's something left for future visits!