Saturday, November 26, 2011

104 Brent Geese, a partial tag reading and a bag of daffodil bulbs.

Driving along Crumlin Road you'd be forgiven for not believing that beyond the blue sign of Synge St GAA is one of the largest inland feeding sites for Brent Geese in Dublin.
I've recorded 1,500 Brent feeding in this field alone and until last year thought we'd hit tag reading gold until barbed wire went up all over the boundary walls and stopped our access into the field.
Now the only way to get a gawk in is through the main gates which are nearly always locked unless there's a GAA match on - and when there's a GAA match on - there's no Brent Geese.
Today I saw the gates open and decided to drive in anyway, just to see if there was any 'evidence' that the Brent Geese were using the fields yet.
Some might think this is a strange way to spend a Saturday, I think it's aprobably a bit strange that it doesn't even dawn on me anymore!

Dolphin Park, aka Synge St GAA, aka Farmer Joe's field, aka inland feeding site for 1500 Brent Geese.
Dolphin Park, no Brent Geese (GAA match happening top of the field).

but plenty of dropping evidence to show they had probably been feeding on the field earlier in the morning (Nov 26th 2011)

The wall I used to climb over to read the BG tags - all barbed wire now, sniff.

I walked down to the bottom of Dolphin Park and noticed some new allotments to the right.
Bingo - if I could find the entrance to the allotments, I might be able to get views into Dolphin Park whether or not the main gates were open.
Result.

Clogher Road Allotments, 90 allotments opened last year in the grounds of Pearse College - all were taken.

Clougher Rd allotments opened 2010.

I got talking to Mick who said he noticed the Brent Geese arrive 2 weeks ago (Nov 12, 2011) and that he sees them nearly everyday from the allotments.

Mick showed me around the allotments, he pointed out the wind turbine and explained how it powers the water which comes up from a well which they dug.
Mick told me how his family hasn't had to buy any veg since he started work in his allotment, all they needed came from his farmed bit of Crumlin earth.
He showed me the paintings on the end of some of the cabins, Phil Lynott, Brendan Behan and Gabriel Byrne - all raised or lived in Crumlin at some point in their lives.
As Mick was talking I was distracted by the sight of 20 Brent Geese landing down in an area next to the GAA fields.
'Where's that area Mick?'
'That's a bit of land belonging to the Convent on Sundrive, they wouldn't mind you driving in. Let me just give you some daffodil bulbs before you go.'
How kind.

The entrance into the convent was locked so I drove over to Pearse Park in Crumlin where I've seen 500 Brent in the past.

Pearse Park, Crumlin - no Brent Geese, but one piece of Evidence to show they've been using the field. The grass was very short so I'd guess that's why I didn't find lots more evidence like I did in Dolphin Park.

Drove over to Clonmacnoise roundabout, Crumlin and Sundrive Cycle track (above) - but no Brent or evidence at either site

It was only 4pm and the sun was going down already.
I drove back around to try and find the entrance into the convent and got lucky.
I parked my car and tried to locate the field I thought I saw the geese drop down into.

Sight for sore eyes - Brent Geese, enjoying long grass and 13º degrees, Convent garden, Dublin - Sat 26th November 2011

I counted 104 Brent Geese including 24 juveniles.
I only spotted one tagged Brent -?XWR I watched for ages to try and catch a glimpse of what the letter on the white tag was - but the grass was just too long

Eventually they all took off and as I watched them lift up, I saw that they were joining another flock of about 200 flying over Dolphin Park.
I hoped they'd all land, but instead they all flew off towards the Sandymount Chimneys to roost.

Sandymount Chimneys from Crumlin, Dublin 12.

3 hours looking around Crumlin got me an inland sighting of 104 Brent and a partial tag reading.
Still felt like a good days birding though.

70 Kildare Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12 - the home of Brendan Behan.