Sunday, April 3, 2011

Garganey, ECNR, Co Wicklow

Later yesterday afternoon a couple of us went down to the Hide at the East Coast Nature Reserve in Newcastle, Co Wicklow. We were hoping to see the Garganey which has been reported there for over a week now.
As soon as we arrived (about 5pm), 2 males and 1 female Garganey were swimming around in front of us.

Male Garganey, left, female Garganey middle, other male Garganey to the back with two Teal
2 male Garganey left, female Garganey right.

Male Garganey in the reeds

Everything about this bird is like a work of art. From the spotted undertails, to the extra long scapulars with white edging and then the huge white eye stripe on the male,  dark eye stripe on the female - they're just beautiful birds.

and a darkish green speculum with lovely white borders
Eric was saying that it's very unusual for Garganey to be around so early at this time of year and that he's never managed to get photos of them so close and out in the open. He showed me the photos he took at the exact same time as I took the photos above and the quality from his new big bertha lens was sickening, absolutely perfect to the nth degree. Super sharp, super fine. I know his camera and lens cost 10 times what my camera and lens are worth, but still, I know I could be getting much sharper images from my own setup.
I gots to Step away from the auto settings madam, step away.
Anyhow, less about the image quality and back to the birds - pure beauty aren't they? garganey are one of the few ducks which actually come to Ireland to 'summer'. Usually most ducks come here to 'winter' because of the milder winters Ireland offers, then they leave about now to 'summer' in their own breeding countries. Garganeys however generally 'winter' in Africa and 'summer' in Ireland.