Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eric's Raptor Workshop - Sycamore Hill, Feb 26th 2012

Over the weekend just gone, Eric held a Raptor wknd workshop down in Wicklow.
With the Iwebs workshop on Saturday I couldn't go along for the full weekend, but Eric was good enough to say I could join them on the Sunday down at Sycamore Hill then go onto Tacumshin to look for Raptors.
There was a group of about 15-20 people (I didn't count) who on the Saturday were lucky enough to see Red kites roosting in Avoca, Wicklow.

Down at Tacumshin, Hen Harriers were the object of desire and that desire was quickly realised.
No sooner as we'd parked up and pulled our scopes out of cars, female and male Hen Harriers were flying over their hunting ground in front of our eyes.
In fact the Hen Harriers seemed to be out for the day, we saw quite a lot of them - to see a male and female was fantastic.

We saw a Kestrel hovering as well and Sarah found the skull of a Red breasted merganser near a post which Eric said was probably the remnants of a Peregrine feast.
I wish I had taken a photo of the skull for people to see, it was interesting the way there was still some red on the beak despite the rest of the skull being bleached white from the sea air.

The bird I didn't see, which I personally would have liked to have seen more than 20 Hen Harriers put together, was the Bearded Reedling which put in a holy appearance for some but not others. Some even managed photos, whereas others (me) only caught a glimpse of a shadow as it mystically disappeared back into the reeds.
Eric kindly let us stay around at the 'Bearded Reedling rock' for quite a while, he knew everyone wanted a good view of this unusual looking bird, but eventually we moved on to get back to the Raptors.
Proper order.
I suppose.

The photos I managed of the Hen Harrier were poor, the Harriers were far off in the distance and there was quite a gust of wind blowing, but I'm including them just because you can get a faint idea of its shape, size and colouring.

Eric Dempsey and his Krew

The Carty sisters (trouble).

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Female Hen Harrier, Tacumshin, feb 2012

Kestrel - looking extremely tatty and worn looking - Feb 2012, Tacumshin

We ended up back at Sycamore Hill about 7ish after a full on Raptastic day.
Eric is running more courses over the year, you can check Eric's website for courses and dates.
Thanks as always to Eric and Hazel, Sarah for driving us and Anna for her company for the day.