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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Yellow-legged Gull, Carrahane

Left) Yellow-legged Gull, with Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Carrahane, 2nd July 2017 (David O'Connor).

Yellow-legged Gull, possibly of the generally smaller and darker race lusitanius (northern Atlantic Iberian form), found by David on 2nd July. David adds, "I'm basing this on jizz, size, primary pattern, proportions [e.g. head shape and attenuated rear end], slightly darker mantle tone, state of moult, shorter tibiae, gonys spot bleeding on to upper mandible, etc." Nice one.

Right) Yellow-legged Gull, with Lesser Black-backed Gull, Carrahane, 2nd July 2017 (David O'Connor).

Right) Yellow-legged Gull, with Lesser Black-backed Gull, Carrahane, 2nd July 2017 (David O'Connor).

Right) Yellow-legged Gull, with Lesser Black-backed Gull, Carrahane, 2nd July 2017 (David O'Connor).

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Astonishing new ID criteria - Dipper

You see a plump, dark brown bird, feeding along a fast-flowing river in the west of Ireland. You glimpse a white breast, straightish bill and a shortish tail. What could it be? There are any number of species which it might be. A young Cormorant? A Dipper? A Ring Ouzel? Or a... well, ok, three species it might be. Ok, it's constantly diving in the whitewater, so probably not Ring Ouzel. Two species it might be then.

So, still perplexed, you have it narrowed down to (a) young Cormorant, or (b) Dipper.

We are happy to reveal here, exclusively, on the Kerry Birding Blog, a 100 percent foolproof, brand new identification feature, which can clinch this identification conundrum, one which has perplexed the finest minds of the finest birders for decades.

Dippers have pink thighs. Young Cormorants don't...

Simple as that.

See the photos below. Identification secured. Enough said. Boom! Back of the net.

Fast-flowing river, dark brown bird, white breast. What could it be? Well, in this case, a young Cormorant, until now, fiendishly difficult to separate from Dipper.

So what about this one? Hard to know. But WAIT!... is there a hint of pink there? Near the top of the legs? Location withheld, but not too far away (M.O'Clery).

Young Cormorant! I mean... Dipper!. No! Young Cormorant! No! Must be a Dipper... Wait, no... Ring Ouz... Oh, I don't know. Hang on... Let me have a closer look at the thighs... *  (M.O'Clery).

YES! PINK! 

It's a Dipper!

Thank you Kerry Birding Blog!

Welcome.

* Location withheld, but a different location from the above photo, which gives additional credibility to this whole ID criteria thing by now having a sample size of two.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Worst Hedgerow in Ireland? Kerry has a strong contender

"This is Kerry, west of Dingle. June 2016. Colaiste ├Źde, Lord Ventry's old estate, now a girls' school. There used to be  approximately 1 km of mature, tall,  dense Blackthorn hedge which divided  up the estate's farm pastures, adjacent  to the C19 arboretum (which  features a South American collection). A heritage landscape. This Blackthorn hedgerow was razed and grubbed up in June 2016 by the farmer, a relative of a member of the school management. He also dumped Tarmac (source was the Dingle car park?) in the field gateway. A year later the tarmac is still visible though the hedge is gone."

What was left of the hedgerow (J.Crosher).

"At the same time the school management felled trees (species not known of course) in the arboretum with no felling licences and razed an area of native Spindle. This is one of the few sites in Kerry where spindle is found and is the food plant of  Spindle Ermine Moth (the only recorded site for this species on the peninsula)."

"Some  residents alerted the four government departments responsible for dealing with these offences and Dingle  Gardai. Kerry County Council, (Biodiversity and Environment staff), NPWS (three staff) and  Forestry Service staff were all involved and at least five staff, maybe one or two more, completed site visits to the farmland and arboretum. Dingle Gardai also responded when one resident was threatened at her home by the farmer. There were no prosecutions and the damage is still evident a year on."

"Contextualised in its heritage landscape I think this (no longer with us so I hope it qualifies) hedgerow is a worthwhile candidate for not only ‘Worst Hedgerow in Ireland' category  but as part of (a) the most investigated simultaneous hedgerow /felling/ dumping offences (b) to the least effect."

"I hope it will go forward to the European Finals."

Best wishes, 
Jill Crosher