Sunday, April 10, 2011


Some days you just gotta see the sea.
Yesterday was definitely one of those days.
I headed over to Dun Laoghaire hoping I'd get some good views of Terns, it's always been a good spot for close ups.
All of Ireland was basking in warm sunshine and Dun Laoghaire was no exception. There was a bit of a haze over the sea, but I wasn't complaining, it was perfect.
The sea out towards Blackrock was calm and quiet. Nice to see a few Gannets hunting in the distance.

Always like seeing Gannets out to sea, with their powerful black tipped white wings and yellow head.

I parked the car in front of the sea at the carpark round the back of the West pier (free parking at weekends, free after 6pm weekdays) and set off from there. I spotted a couple of Swallows, a House Martin and some posh boys with massive bleached blonde curtain fringes, waxed 'just so', singing 'fuck your Honda Civic, I've a horse outside' really loudly to some other boys. Made me smile, real life you know they're all driving BMW 4x4s to and from rugby training....but whatever.

2 seconds onto the West pier and I could hear Terns.

Sandwich Tern, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Beautiful Sandwich Tern with splash of yellow on tip of the jet black beak
There was a lot of diving and feeding going on. But I noticed one particular Tern not eating the fish himself but flying away to offer his catch as a present to a lady Tern. She however, was suitably unimpressed.
Oh my, who's that beauty over there on the yellow buoy..

Ohmigod, she's like, totally fit... catch her eye, catch her eye, catch her eye
Oh, I don't believe it. Here we go again. Avoid eye contact, avoid eye contact, too late...he's coming over
Oh, hi, yeh, I think we spoke before at a bar in West Africa. I really liked your black eyes. Did you do something different with your hair?
*Rolls eyes* Seriously, get lost, I'm soooo not interested.
I'll get her some fish, that'll do it.
Great. There's lads with BMW 4x4's around here, and he wants to impress me with fish? Like, I can't hunt my own?
Seen some. Get her one of these beauties and she'll soon change her mind.
God, that always hurts.
Feast your eyes on what this bad boy can fetch for you Lady Tern!
Oh, hi, yeh, I don't know if you remember me, but we were just talking like a minute ago and I wondered if you'd like some fish?
No. No, I wouldn't.
Maybe it was the wrong kind of fish, maybe she'll like this one..
Er, hello!? Helllloooo?! Hi, yeh, I brought you a, er, ... different fish?
I don't want your fish! I can get my own fish. Fetch me an iphone 4 and I'll think about it.
iphone 4.. .Whatever.. I don't think think they're going to accept Buoy no. 25, Dun Laoghaire harbour as a home address for a contract, do you? If this fish doesn't do it for her, she can feck off. Some broads are just too much work.
Do you want this fish or not?

I walked away from the tension and left them to it.In fairness to the female Tern, another 2 (presumably) male Terns soon started flying over her and one brought back fish for her. It would be interesting to know how many potential suitors she was dealing with.

A passing Kittiwake shed a tear at the scene. 'Life can be so cruel', it blubbed.

Tapping into past life experience the Kittiwake offered some advice, I heard it saying 'You can't give up when something doesn't work out'
No good hiding yourself away
You gotta pick yourself back up, and get back out there!
Plenty more fish in the sea :o)
Damn right Sistah, bellowed a MASSIVE passing Grey Heron.

After these shots, I spotted some Razorbill and Guillemots a bit further out in the harbour. Whilst looking at them, another birder came over and started chatting. It was just as he was chatting that I realised my lens had just kaput, broke, stopped taking pictures completely. Pressed the shutter button down and nothing.
Having a mild freakout, I stopped listening to the guy's birding travel stories and tried to figure out what was up with the camera. I changed the battery, took the lens off the camera, wiped the contacts, put lens back on, hoped for the best - but nada. F,S,W.
The man wandered off saying he'd leave me to it. Wise move. I sat there continuously trying the off/on magic trick - but nothing worked. I walked back to the car (kicking stones most of the way) and considered driving back into town to see about the lens, but it was 5.30pm and by the time I drove into town Conns would be shut.
The evening was still so beautiful and I wanted to stay out longer, so I put the camera back in it's bag and drove over to Sandycove.
I walked down to the 40ft where there were some really tame Turnstones feeding around the rocks, a few Oystercatchers, 2 Brent Geese flew by and a Shag and a Cormorant were diving close inland.
I walked along the coast road over to the East Pier and walked to the end of the pier where there was a busker playing 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' on his banjo...
On the rocks at the end of the East Pier were a lot of Turnstones, Redshank, lots of Oystercatchers, again a Shag and Cormorant diving nearby. Walking back along the E Pier, in the harbour, there were 3 Guillemots and a Razorbill.
I walked back to Sandycove, giving myself nuff respect for walking straight past Teddys.
Checked down at the rocks for Med Gulls and poss Black Redstart I've seen there before, but nothing showing except more Turnstones and lots of Starlings and Feral Pigeons.
Walked back along the coast road to the 40ft and drove home. Great day out and great days birding.