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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Great White Egret reappears

After a three week absence, presumably the same Great White Egret is back at its old haunt just upriver of the pier at Caherfealane, south of Boolteens.

Great White Egret, Maine River, 15th October 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Great White Egret, Maine River, 15th October 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Great White Egret, Maine River, 15th October 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Meanwhile, Hurrican Ophelia continues its relentless march towards Kerry. It is due to hit around midday tomorrow (Monday). Heads down, binoculars up...

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Heads up - Hurricane coming this way

While I'm generally not in the business of forecasting what rare birds might turn up when (a fool's game), this is one of the more interesting weather forecasts in many, many years, one that should get birders all over the country sitting up in their chairs, taking a little intake of breath, followed by a soft whistle and a low, muttered 'Holy Shiiiiit!".

A hurricane is now forming south of the Azores, Hurricane Ophelia, but it is forecast to gather momentum and to whisk quickly north-east, fading as it does so. But as the forecast stands now, just after midnight on Thursday 12th October, it is aimed right at Ireland and is due to arrive some time on Monday. While maybe not hurricane force by the time it reaches Ireland, the winds will be VERY strong, with a lot of rain.

What birds might this bring? It'll be most interesting to see. It's mid-October, the height of the migration season, and this is a rather bizarre weather phenomena. As it approaches, it will suck in south to south-east winds off the Continent. Trust me, if this forecast holds true, this will produce some good birds.

If it doesn't, and this is very important, I'll simply delete this post in a week or so and you will all hopefully forget all about it, but if it DOES... jaysus, you'll never hear the end of it...

The forecast for the projected path of Hurricane Ophelia at midnight on Thursday/Friday, from the National Hurricane Centre, USA (link HERE). While at the moment it is almost stationary, by Saturday it is accelerating at a ferocious rate, heading for Kerry. Well, Mayo.

The forecast for probable wind speeds, at midnight on Thursday/Friday, from the National Hurricane Centre, USA (link HERE). 

I haven't seen a forecast quite like that since the internet was born.

The forecast for the timing of strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia, at midnight on Thursday/Friday, from the National Hurricane Centre, USA (link HERE).

This one is worth watching. If it does what it says on the tin, be prepared to call in sick.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Yellow-browed Warbler at Coumeenoole

Coumeenoole continues something of a golden run with the addition of Yellow-browed Warbler this morning, though the bird was very elusive and was only seen, on and off, for about ten minutes. 

Yellow-browed Warbler, Coumeenoole, 10th October 2017 (Michael O'Clery).

Coumeenoole is Sylvia Central

Three species of Sylvia Warbler in one tiny west coast gully - Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap. Not bad.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 9th October 2017 (David O'Connor).

Lesser Whitethroat, Coumeenoole, 9th October 2017 (David O'Connor).

No, NOT a Blackcap, NOT at Coumeenoole, but it WAS on 9th October 2017 (David O'Connor).

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that this is not the third of the trio of Sylvia Warblers at Coumeenoole today. Rather, it is a juvenile Little Stint at nearby Ventry today. There was NO Little Stint at Coumeenoole, Little Stint is NOT a Sylvia warbler and there was NO photo from today of a Blackcap at Coumeenoole so, hey, we improvised. Deal with it.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Lesser Whitethroat, Coumeenoole

Lesser Whitethroat, Coumeenoole, 8th October 2017 (David O'Connor).

Although the Barred Warbler was present again at Coumeenoole in the morning it wasn't seen later in the day, though this Lesser Whitethroat provided a little consolation. This is the 13th record for Kerry. They were mega rare in the nineties and the noughties but are now being found more regularly.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Sylvia warbler walks into a bar...

A big grey Sylvia warbler walks into a bar.
Barman says, "Get out. You're Barred!"

First-winter Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017 (All photos, M.O'Clery).

The fifth record for Kerry, found by Davey Farrar this afternoon.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017.

Surely the best photo of a bird's arse in years.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017.

First-winter Barred Warbler, Coumeenoole, 7th October 2017.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Red-eyed Vireo, Glanfahan

Red-eyed Vireo, Glanfahan, near Slea Head, 4th October 2017 (Eric Dempsey).

The fifth record for Kerry, found this afternoon by Seamus Enright. It was often elusive, disappearing into cover for extended periods.

Red-eyed Vireo, Glanfahan, near Slea Head, 4th October 2017 (Michael O'Clery).

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Juv. American Golden Plover, Carrahane

Juvenile American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 3rd October 2017 (M. O"Clery).

Juvenile American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 3rd October 2017 (M. O"Clery).

Juvenile American Golden Plover, Carrahane, 3rd October 2017 (M. O"Clery).

Eddie the Eagle in Brandon Bay

'Eddie' the White-tailed Eagle, Brandon Bay, 3rd October 2017 (Mike McLaughlinn).

White-tailed Eagle, Brandon Bay, 3rd October 2017 (Mike McLaughlinn).

White-tailed Eagle, Brandon Bay, 3rd October 2017 (Mike McLaughlinn).

Curlew Sandpiper, Black Rock, 30th September 2017 (Geoff Hunt).

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Cromane Spoonbill makes it back yet again

Adult Spoonbill, Cromane, 28th September 2017 (M.O'Clery).

This amazing bird has returned yet again. It first appeared as a juvenile bird at Cromane in November 2005.

Rubbish photos taken in what could, if you were in generous mood, be described as "A difficult photographic opportunity impaired by heavy, wind-borne horizontal precipitation". If not in a generous mood then best described as, "Feckin' pissin' it down." I kid you not, but after briefly winding down the driver's window in the car for this photo, there was rain drops splattered on the inside of the passenger window...

Here's a better photo of the same bird in October last year.

Adult Spoonbill, Cromane, 28th September 2017 (M.O'Clery). 

Little Stint (with Pied Wagtail), Rossbeigh, 28th September 2017 (M.O'Clery).

Semi-useful size and plumage comparison between these utterly different species. Probably not a real identification problem, still, if needed, this photo will help sort it out.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Ruff times

There's a bit of an influx of Ruff these last few days. A couple at Trabeg yesterday (MOC), five at Ferriter's Cove today (J.Crosher), and 11 at this flooded pool near Tralee also today (K. Kelly). 14 were at the Cashen on Monday (D. Farrar). 

Although these are remarkable numbers for Kerry, Frank King had a flock of 74, yes, 74, at Akearagh Lough in September 1968. Extraordinary.

Flock of Ruff, near The Kerries, Tralee, 27th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Ruff, near The Kerries, Tralee, 27th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Ruff, near The Kerries, Tralee, 27th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Ringed Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Rock, 27th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly)

Shortly after the appearance of a Norwegian-ringed Bar-tailed Godwit from Norway at Black Rock (see post HERE) another appeared right alongside it. And what's more, from the exact same place, and ringed only three hours after the first. What are the chances of that? Well... unless they travelled together. Still, pretty amazing that they are both now feeding along a Kerry shoreline. One might well assume they are now here for the winter, but it's possible that these long-distance migrants are just staging before an even longer journey. The bulk of the population winters south of the Equator.
With thanks to Kilian Kelly.

Goodies at Black Rock

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 26th September 2017 (Cait O'Neill).

Curlew Sandpiper, Black Rock, 26th September 2017 (Cait O'Neill).

Little Stint, Black Rock, 26th September 2017 (Cait O'Neill).

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Eddie the Eagle visits the Kingdom

After no sightings since April, a young White-tailed Eagle has re-appeared in Kerry at several sites over the past couple of weeks. Christened 'Eddie', he was at Rossbeigh, then Inch and yesterday, in Tralee Bay. 

White-tailed Eagle, 'Eddie', Tralee Bay, 26th September 2017 (Liam Doyle).

He was born in summer 2016 in West Cork. The photo below is of the parents, male W (born 2010) & female D (born 2009) near the nest site today. 

'Eddie's' parents, near their nest site in West Cork, 26th September 2017 (Clare Heardman).

Eddie was the first White-tailed Eagle chick to fledge in Cork in over 100 years, and as the pair failed to produce fledged young this summer he is still their only surviving offspring, and the only 'wild-born' eagle from Co. Cork in a century.

White-tailed Eagle, 'Eddie', Tralee Bay, 26th September 2017 (Liam Doyle).

If you do see him on his wanderings, be sure and let us know. He has a blue wing tag on the left wing, orange on the right.

With many thanks to Allan Mee and Clare Heardman.

Buff-breast still at... at... that unpronounceable spot on Valentia

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Beenakryrakka Head, Valentia Island, 25th September 2017 (Cait O'Neill).

Present for two weeks, and now joined by a couple of Golden Plovers.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Little Egrets into triple figures

Little Egrets, Caherfealane, October 2016 (M.O'Clery).

The first Little Egret recorded in Kerry was in  September 1957 at Blennerville and was at the time the 6th Irish record. By the 1990s it was pretty much annual and by the early 2000s - 'the noughties' - was averaging about 10 to 15 a year. The first double figure count was, surprisingly, also the first breeding record - 6 pairs nesting near Inch in spring 2006 - followed quickly by a count of 30 in that area the following August. 

Double figure counts have been regular for several years now at Blennerville/Tralee Bay, and Castlemaine Harbour and occasionally at other sites such as Trabeg and Burnham Lagoon. However recent counts of this species have set the bar higher again, and then again in the space of a few weeks.

A new Kerry record of 70 were at Blennerville in the first days of September this year, but that record tumbled when Little Egret counts finally made into the hundreds. 116 were counted today on the eastern shores of Castemaine Harbour/ River Maine area, during a fruitless search for the Great White Egret. How long before that record count is broken again?

Little Egret, Castlegregory Marsh, June 2015 (M.O'Clery).

(with thanks to Ed Carty).

More video of the White-rumped

The White-rumped Sandpiper at Black Rock continues to give extraordinarily close views, down to 4m (12ft).

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 24th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).
Hit the arrow symbol, top right, for full screen view.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Great Blasket

 
Pectoral Sandpiper, Great Blasket island, 21st September 2017 (Sue Redican).

The first record of this species for the island group.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Great Blasket island, 21st September 2017 (Sue Redican).

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Norwegian ringed Bar-tailed Godwit seen in Kerry

Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Rock, 17th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Rock, 17th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Thanks to Kilian Kelly for sending us details of a recent finding of a Norwegian ringed Bar-tailed Godwit seen at Black Rock on Friday last.

Ring no: Stavanger 7218386
Yellow flag  NCM (Left tarsus : metal. Left tibia, red colour ring. Right tibia, yellow flag  engraved with three black letters NCM).
Age/sex/ biometric: Male M1K, hatched 2017.
Ringing date: 06.09.2016.
Ringing place: Revtangen (58*45'10''N-005*29'25''E) Klepp, Rogaland, Norway.

Finding date: 17.09.2017.
Observed: Black Rock (52*21'N-009*50'W), Ballinprior, Kerry, IRELAND
Distance: 1270 km WSW. Direction: 236 deg. 11 days after ringing.
Remarks: Photodocumented. Feeding with ca 50 other Bar-tailed Godwits and other species.
Observed  by: Killian Kelly.

A 1270 km journey for our Bar-tailed Godwit.

Friday, 22 September 2017

A most obliging White-rumped at Black Rock


Video of White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Kilian Kelly). 
Click on the arrow symbol top right for full screen view).

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

Curlew Sandpiper with Dunlin, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Little Stint, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

Great White Egret, Maine River, near Caherfealane pier, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

Present now for a third day.