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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Black-throated Diver, Kilmackilloge Harbour

Black-throated Diver, Kilmackilloge Harbour, 19th February 2017 (Fionn Moore).

Hot on the heels of one photographed in Ballinskelligs Bay in late January (see post HERE), another turns up at Kilmackilloge Harbour today. And also gets photographed.

Black-throated Diver, Kilmackilloge Harbour, 19th February 2017 (Fionn Moore).

Black-throated Diver (left) and Great Northern Diver, Kilmackilloge Harbour, 19th February 2017 (Fionn Moore).

The two images here are from the same photo, but just cropped to move both closer to allow better size comparison.

Black-throated Diver, Kilmackilloge Harbour, 19th February 2017 (Fionn Moore).

Gulls at TBWC

  
First-winter and adult Ring-billed Gulls, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, 16th  February 2017 (Ed Carty).

There are still at least two adults and two first-winters in the area.

First-winter Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, 16th  February 2017 (Ed Carty).

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, 16th  February 2017 (Ed Carty).

Adult Ring-billed Gulls, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, 16th  February 2017 (Ed Carty).

First-winter Iceland Gull, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, 16th  February 2017 (Ed Carty).

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Snow Bunting and Dark-bellied Brent

Male Snow Bunting, Rough Point, 15th February 2017 (David O'Connor).

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Rough Point, 15th February 2017 (David O'Connor).

Both these birds have been seen, on and off, for a couple of months at these sites.

King Eider shows up again

 Female King Eider with Red-breasted Mergansers, Sandy Bay, 15th February 2017 (M.O'Clery).
(Click on images for a closer look)

The female King Eider re-appeared at the original spot close to Castlegregory this morning and looked right at home with the local Red-breasted Mergansers for a time. However, it didn't come close inshore for pretty much the whole day and by sunset was alone again well over a kilometre offshore. If you go to see it, bring your 60x eyepiece for the telescope. Might need a lot of luck to see it close in.

 Female King Eider with Red-breasted Merganser, Sandy Bay, 15th February 2017 (M.O'Clery).

 Female King Eider with Red-breasted Merganser, Sandy Bay, 15th February 2017 (M.O'Clery).

 Female King Eider with Red-breasted Mergansers, Sandy Bay, 15th February 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Up close, female King Eiders are subtly but beautifully marked, and the head pattern and bill shape in particular are very distinctive, but at these sort of ranges and in difficult viewing conditions in poor light, this is a major rarity that could easily be overlooked perhaps as a Mallard, a Common Eider or even, when the neck is outstretched, a female Pintail. Below, the much more cooperative female King Eider at Ballinskelligs in 2011. These are the views we would prefer of course, or even better, perhaps the next one in Kerry will be an adult male.

Female King Eider, Ballinskelligs, 19th December 2011, showing down to 20 metres (Photo: David O'Connor).

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Jack Snipe and Littoralis

Jack Snipe, Carrahane, 14th February 2017 (David O'Connor).

Although scarce but regular in Co. Kerry, along with Black-throated Diver, it is one of the least photographed birds, so credit to David for getting this flight shot - not easy.

Scandinavian, or Littoralis Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 14th February 2017 (David O'Connor).

A different bird from the one at this site a few days ago.

Female King Eider (and Black Brant) at Sandy Bay

First-year female King Eider, Sandy Bay, 12th February 2017 (Pepe Lehikoinen) 
(with thanks to Ed Carty).

Visiting Finnish birders found this bird just off the car park below the school at Castlegregory on Sunday last, identifying it as a first-year female. Pepe wrote, "It was a first-winter female based on the colouration (female) and very faint white wing bars (1cy)."

This is only the third record for Kerry, following the first, a female, at Dingle in January 2001, and another female at Ballinskelligs Pier in December 2011 (see post HERE and HERE).

First-year female King Eider, Sandy Bay, 12th February 2017 (Pepe Lehikoinen).

Despite searching since, it hasn't been seen again, but in such a huge bay, it might again pop up nearby.

The Black Brant, present since early January, was also seen in Sandy Bay, as were 7 Slavonian Grebes, off Lough Naparka.

Adult Black Brant, Sandy Bay, 14th February 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Pink Littoralis

Littoralis or Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 8th February 2017 (David O'Connor).

It's that time of year again, when some of the 'local' Rock Pipits start to pink up on the chin and breast, a few weeks before heading off back to Scandinavia to nest, leaving our own resident and pinkless Rock Pipits looking dowdier than ever by comparison.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Four ringing recoveries, all from Poland

Ringed Dunlin, Black Rock, December 2016, but ringed in Poland the previous autumn (David O'Connor).

David O'Connor photographed four ringed waders at Black Rock in December 2015 to December 2016 and was kind enough to send us the details. 

Extraordinarily, they were all ringed on different dates and years at the same location at the mouth of the Vistula River on the South Baltic coast, East of Gdansk, in Poland. The distance to Black Rock, in a straight line, is 1,900km.

Gdansk to Black Rock

As David writes, "The first three (Dunlin) were ringed on breeding grounds there (though I can't ascertain if they had bred) in 2013, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Interestingly, the last bird - a Curlew Sandpiper - was also ringed there during migration last autumn. One wonders if Kerry is at the end of some enormous east-west migration corridor that extends for at least 2000km. Where these birds arrived from on reaching the South Baltic and where they get to after leaving Kerry would also be really nice to know!"

Ringed Dunlin, Black Rock, 2016, also ringed in Poland (David O'Connor).

Ringed Dunlin, Black Rock, 2016, ringed in Poland (David O'Connor).

Ringed Curlew Sandpiper, Black Rock, December 2016, and another ringed at the same site in Poland the previous autumn (David O'Connor).

Monday, 6 February 2017

Ring-billed Gull, TBWC

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, Tralee, 6th February 2017 (Ed Carty).

One of four present at this site recently.

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Tralee Bay Wetland Centre, Tralee, 6th February 2017 (Ed Carty).

Black-throated Diver and Surf Scoters

Black-throated Diver with Common Scoter, Ballinskelligs Bay, 28th January 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Some of the few, or perhaps even the ONLY photos of Black-throated Diver ever to be taken in The Kingdom. Alhtough a regular but scarce winter visitor to certain parts of Ireland such as Galway Bay, it is actually a good bit rarer than Surf Scoter in Kerry, averaging only one to three claims per winter in recent years.

Black-throated Diver, Ballinskelligs Bay, 28th January 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Black-throated Diver, Ballinskelligs Bay, 28th January 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Male and female Surf Scoter, Ballinskelligs Bay, 28th January 2017 (Pat McDaid).

Long-tailed Ducks, Ballinskelligs Bay, 4th February 2017 (Pat McDaid).