Tuesday, 26 October 2010


aaaaah bank holiday mondays. A three day weekend. With seeing the SE owl at bull island on sunday I was all set to head down there in case it turned up again. Pulled out of Drimnagh only to have Crumlin Rd blocked off because idiots people were running the Dublin marathon to raise money for deserving charities.
With the whole of Dublin city centre blocked off we headed down the m50 to Kilcoole.
Similar to Sunday it was another beautiful day, which was good because my non birding gf had decided to come along for a day outdoors.
When we got down to Kilcoole, we met a couple of women at the turnstile, they looked at my gear and said 'there's a few more of your kind down the beach', I wasn't sure if she meant Kilcoole was having it's own gay pride day or if birders were around twitching something.
Once on the beach, straight away there were a couple of Red throated Divers in the sea.

Red throated Diver
The strangest photo of a Red throated diver I've ever seen
A red throated diver will nearly always have it's beak pointing upwards, a black throated will have a beak pointing straight ahead (Jim).
Black headed gulls looking all innocent

but they were actually tormenting this Razorbill who was clearly competition for them. I watched them swoop over and dive at the Razorbill for about 10 mins. Every now and then the Razorbill would come up to the surface and dive back down really quickly as though it just wanted to piss them off, made me laugh anyway.

Take that
haha, loser, missed me.
 Out at sea there were also some guillemots, no Gannets that I could see, no Terns left, no Kittiwakes, there were Corms, BH gulls, a few GBB gulls and an Oystercatcher flew across.
On the lakes there were loads of ducks, I didn't really pay too much attention to them this time because I wasn't on my own and going through the ducks at Kilcoole is a whole day and a whole post to itself (which I will do, because I've got to learn i'd's for ducks- Again).
I will mention that the sound of the Wigeon was nearly constant and it was great to hear.
There were about 15 Greylags (I didn't see the pink footed amongst them) and Cara spotted the Whooper Swans landing.

Greylag Geese
Mute Swan
Whooper swans
Lovely Linnet, Winter plumage

I had seen on irishbirding that there had been several sightings of Short eared owls at Newcastle, after the experience yesterday I was really hoping to see and appreciate the owl a bit better since it had taken us so by suprise at the Bull.
But the wind was really strong and there must have been about 20 planes which took off and landed along the airstrip, not great conditions for the SE owl who isn't too happy hunting in strong winds.

So there was plenty of this:

but not much in the way of any owls. I did think I saw one being mobbed by rooks waaay out in the distance but it was getting very dark and 'someone' was getting bored and tired in the car, so I called it a day and we drove home. Before we left we saw this Kestrel making it's way up and down the airstrip, hovering as best as it could in the wind.

It has been so long since I've seen a Stonechat in Kilcoole and sadly I didn't see any again today. Apparently about 90% of Irish Stonechats were wiped out last winter, that's pretty horrific. What if the winter is as harsh again this year? Well, lets hope it might not be as bad, despite the predictions.