Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poor Plovers

With the storms over the last few days many Golden Plover and their cousins the Lapwing have moved on mass inland to take shelter and feed on agricultural fields close to my home.  These waders spent much of their time lying low trying to take shelter from the gale force winds and heavy rain showers.

Golden Plover and Lapwing taking shelter from the storms © John N Murphy

Sunday, January 27, 2013


These Shovelers were finding it hard to feed on Burrin Lough in North Clare today where many took shelter behind Greater Reedmace as the strong winds drove Wigeon, Coot and Moorhens off the lough to feed on nearby grassy fields.

Shoveler at Burrin Lough © John N Murphy

Forster's Tern

While in North Clare today to clock up the adult Ring-necked Duck at Roo Lough on the Clare/Galway border (which I got), I headed to Kinvarra in search of the adult winter Forster's Tern.  Thankfully the tern showed up but very far out in the middle of the bay and it eventually came in to land on rocks with Lapwing where they went to roost as the tide dropped.  I also manged to see a couple of Spotted Redshanks at Coronroo but the Black Brant found two days ago at New Quay was elusive.
Forster's Tern flying around Kinvara Bay and sitting on rocks with Lapwing © John N Murphy

Adult drake Ring-necked Duck at Roo Lough © John N Murphy

Ruff Weather

I was in Wexford for the day catching up on new year birds. Managed to clock up the Northern Harrier, the five Cranes, Bewick's Swan at Tacumschin and two Ruff battling the adverse weather on Our Lady's Island Lake.  Unfortunately the Long-billed Dowitcher was elusive and so too were the Balearic Shearwaters off Carne Beach.

 Two Ruff at Our Lady's Island, Wexford © John N Murphy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I was on my way to a site in west Limerick this morning for ecology work when I got a call to say that the site was closed for the day due to adverse weather.  As I was near the Curraghchase I detoured off the main road to have a quick look for the Hawfinches.  Sure enough there were two or three birds feeding in and around the Car Park, out in snowy grass with thrushes and a few Chaffinches.  The temp was - 3℃ with frost, fog and really dull light conditions.  Below are just a few record shots of these rare birds to Ireland.

Hawfinches at the Curraghchase, Limerick © John N Murphy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pig Egret

I was up in Donegal Friday and Saturday of this week 18th & 19th January to try and catch up on a few New year species.  I got all my target birds Snow goose at Sheskin Mor, Bittern and Smew at Inch Island and this Cattle Egret feeding amongst the pigs at St.Johnston.  I have never seen a cattle Egret following pigs before and it was great to observe this hungry little bird wait patiently next to the Tamsworth and Saddle-backed pigs as they flung mud and worms out of the ground with their powerful snouts.

Cattle Egret at St. Johnston © John N Murphy

Lapwing Move In

With the weather turning colder from the east and heavy snow fall on the way, I have noticed a large influx of Lapwings over the past few days.  Hopefully a lot more birds will arrive to the milder parts of the west of Ireland.

Lapwing © John N Murphy

Thursday, January 17, 2013

American Coot

I have had problems with my MAC but eventually got sorted and am now thankfully able to upload images once more to my blog. I was back at Ballyconeely with my buddy Finbarr last Saturday 12th January 2013 where we got excellent views of the American Coot in good sunshine.  Also at Murlough lake there was the drake Green-winged Teal and an adult Mediterranean Gull on a nearby beach.

American Coot at Lough Murlough, Galway © John N Murphy