American Golden Plover, Reenroe (near Waterville), 28th April 2012 (Pat McDaid).
American Golden Plover(left), with Golden Plover, Reenroe, 28th April 2012 (Pat McDaid).
American Golden Plover (left) with Golden Plovers, Reenroe, 28th April 2012 (Pat McDaid). Though often thought of as an autumn vagrant to Kerry, spring records of this Nearctic species are not unprecedented, with a May record from Akeragh Lough in 1971, and with summer records in June (1969) and July (1993) from Baile an Reannaig and Rough Point respectively. This is the first April record for Kerry.
Co. Kerry is one of the few counties yet to be re-colonised by Buzzards, with only one known nesting attempt in recent years. They are now present and breeding in North and central Cork, so it is surely a matter of time before they reach Kerry. Many chicks are now wing-tagged, so if you see one this summer, be sure to pass on the details. All Buzzards wing-tagged in Co. Cork in 2011 have dark blue tags on the right wing and orange tags on the left wing. In 2012 these will be dark blue (right wing) and purple (left wing). Please help track their movements by reporting all sightings to Dr. Allan Mee (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: +353-873117608) or Tony Nagle (email: email@example.com; tel: +353-862612283).
Full details are on the Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project website HERE.
Whimbrel, Ballinskelligs Bay, 26th April (Pat McDaid).
Large flock of Whimbrel, Ballinskelligs Bay, 26th April (Pat McDaid). At least 400 Whimbrel were present in and around Reenroe, Ballinskelligs Bay. While birds have been recorded in every month in Kerry, there is a distinct late April peak, with flocks of 30 or more not too unusual at certain 'hotspots' such as Ventry (where up to 80 birds have been seen in April). However, the largest previous Kerry flock on record was of 250 at Waterville on 22nd April 2008. Pat reports that at least 400 and possibly 500 or more Whimbrel were present on the beaches to the west side of Ballinskelligs Bay – a new Kerry record. The Reenroe area is also a reliable spot for seeing Whimbrel in winter.
The Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project is currently underway in east Kerry and north-west Cork. The main emphasis of the Survey is to study Barn Owls, Kestrels and Long-eared Owls, to find out their breeding densities, nest site preferences, and other factors which might lead to a greater understanding of their conservation needs. The website can be seen HERE.
Whitethroat, Ballinskelligs, 14th April 2012 (Pat and Niall McDaid). Whitethroats are surprisingly rare in Kerry, with only a handful of records each year, usually on headlands in autumn, such as around Dunquin. They breed in small numbers in the Cork/Kerry border area, but breeding elsewhere in Kerry is rare.
Hybrid passerine, Killarney National Park, 1st April 2012 (A. Prilfule). Although hybrids in the tit family are rare, they have been occasionally recorded, notably between Blue Tit and Azure Tit in eastern Europe. This bird, photographed near Torc Mountain, would seem to be a cross between Coal Tit and Spotted Flycatcher, the first such hybrid recorded in Kerry.