Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mediterranean Gull

I was in Tarbert while passing through Kerry late yesterday afternoon and managed to see a few birds before it got dark.  There was one adult Mediterranean Gull, two first-winter Mediterranean Gulls, one little Egret, 80 Shelduck and over 250 Teal.  An Otter was actively feeding and scent marking around the piers where the ferry docks.

Friday, January 27, 2012


This morning I stopped off at Glin in County Limerick to check the shore in the village for waders and gulls.  This Redshank was busy feeding along the edge of the dropping tide.

Grey Heron

I was on my way home from West Limerick yesterday 26th January 2012 and took a look at the slipway near St. Michael's Rowing Club in the middle of Limerick City with the hope of seeing a Ring-billed Gull or Iceland Gull.  There were lots of Black-headed and Common Gulls but no oddities.  This Grey Heron was holding his own at the end of the slipway waiting on bread being thrown out for the swans and gulls.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Glaucous Gull

This first-winter Glaucous Gull was also on the rocky shore between Cloghaun Lough and Kilbaha, Loop Head yesterday 21st January 2012.

More Iceland Gulls

Here are a small selection of some of the 17 different Iceland Gulls we encountered in west Clare yesterday 21st January 2012.

 First-winter Iceland Gull in a field near Farrihy Bay
 First-winter Iceland Gull in a field near Ross bay, Loop Head
A dark first-winter Iceland Gull near Cloghaun Lough, Kilbaha, Loop Head

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Iceland Gull

We headed off this morning to the south west corner of the county in search of white-winged gulls.  Given that there are so many scattered around the country we thought there was a good chance of finding a few.  We managed to find 21 white-winged gulls in total within the golden triangle of Clare, Kilrush, to Loop Head, to Doonbeg.  Out of the 21 there were 17 Iceland Gulls and four Glaucous Gulls.  The first-winter in the pictures below were taken in Kilbaha, Loop Head.  As you can see the Herring gull sharing the rocks with this bird was not so hospitable to his northern cousin.

Brent Geese

On our tour of west Clare this morning in search of white-winged gulls we came across this flock of 29 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Kilcredaun marsh.

White-fronted Geese

Yesterday while passing through Ennis I stopped off at Ballyallia Lake where there were three White-fronted Geese, one little Egret and 74 Whooper Swans.  These three white-fronted Geese were probably lost from a small party that normal frequent Lough Muchanagh not too far north of Ennis.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thayer's Gull

After finishing survey work in north Mayo late this afternoon, I dropped into Killala Harbour to search for white-winged gulls before departing for the long journey home to Clare. There was one first-winter Glaucous, two adult Iceland Gulls and this Thayer's type individual. Hopefully, this will be confirmed as a first-winter Thayer's Gull by the experts over the coming days.  To date, there have been nine claims of Thayer's Gull Larus (glaucoides) thayeri in Ireland.  Details of all nine are as follows.

1989 Galway: juvenile/first-winter, Galway City Dump 11th to 31st March (Kilbane, 1989). Additional photographs in Dutch Birding 11:82 and Cottridge & Vinicombe (1986).
1990 Cork: juvenile/first-winter, The Lough, Cork City Dump and Cobh, 21st February to 5th March (Wilson, 1990). Additional photograph in Enticott & Tipling (1997).
1997 Antrim: juvenile/first-winter at Belfast Dump, 1st to 7th March 1997 (McGeehan, 1997; McGeehan & Garner, 1997). This record has been accepted by the Northern Ireland Birdwatchers' Association Records Committee (NIBARC) (Irish Birds 7:100).
1998 Donegal: adult, Killybegs, 22nd February to 10th March (McGeehan & Millington, 1998). Additional photograph in Birding World 15:73.
1998-1999 Mayo: juvenile/first-winter, Newport Dump, 19th December 1998 to 3rd April 1999 (Lonergan, 1999). Additional photograph in Birding World 12:93.
2003 Donegal: juvenile/first-winter, Killybegs, 2nd to at least 5th February. Photographs in Birding World16:50 and 16:124. This record has yet to be formally assessed.
2005 Mayo: First-winter, Barnatra, 5th to 19th March (M.O'Keeffe et al.) photographed (Birding World 18:105-106;  Birdwatch 155:65; British Birds 98:227; Dutch Birding 27:140) (Mullarney and Millington 2005). 
2010 Galway: juvenile/first-winter, Ross beach, Cleggan, 19th January to 10th February 2010 (Breen). This record has yet to be formally assessed.
2011 Clare: second-winter, Liscannor Harbour, Liscannor Bay, 1st February 2011(Murphy). This record has yet to be formally assessed.

Thayer's type gull just left of adult Iceland in the middle back of the photo