Sunday, April 3, 2011

Early April in Kilcoole

It was my first visit of the year to Kilcoole yesterday and it was a great visit. I saw my first Swallow, House Martin, Skylark, Wheatear and Tern of the year. Plus my first Gannets, Razorbill, Red Throated Diver, Kittiwake and Shag.
We also saw plenty of Brent Geese still around, Greylag geese, Wigeon, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard and Mute Swans. Interesting sightings were a Lapwing already on it's nest and Lapwings constantly mobbing the crows in the area.
We waved goodbye to a flock of Greylag geese who Eric reckoned were on their way back to Iceland

and we waved hello to a beautiful looking Sandwich Tern, arriving in from West Africa. These are my favourite Terns.

in the channel Ian noticed a couple of Snipe feeding out in the open

There were still at least 300 Brent Geese in Kilcoole, a Peregrine put these up.

Buzzard at Kilcoole - the geese/ waders know that the Buzzard is no threat to them, so they never lift because a Buzzard's in the air.

Kittiwake keeping watch over a nuisance diver under the sea

Kittiwake hovering over the diver under the sea

A Razorbill, the object of the Kittiwake's affections. Ahhhh.

A Shelduck heading off to the shops for some Taytos

Double click to see Barnacle goose who's fallen in with the Greylag geese

Red throated Diver, starting to get it's summer plumage on it's neck, and Razorbill

Hello Wheatear! About 2 years ago, I was sitting on the boulders in Kilcoole minding my own business, when a bird landed beside me and just stayed there. I didn't know at the time, but from what I know now, it was a Wheatear, probably exhausted from just arriving on Irish shores from it's possible wintering grounds in Africa.
A Pheasant. Beautiful, rich, warm colouring - looks a little out of place in Kilcoole
I didn't manage a photo of a Swallow, House Martin or Skylark - I just watched them through the binocs, happy to see them again.
The outing was over in a couple pf hours and to be honest a lot of the outing went by in a kind of blur. It's nearly impossible to focus in on the birds when there's a chatty crowd around, but, if it wasn't for the crowd I wouldn't see half of what I saw -  they're the highs and lows of group outings I suppose.
I wonder how possible it would be to have the crowd following quietly behind me next weekend when I'm down in Carlow, walking down wooded lanes trying to id all the birds for the Countryside Bird Survey??