ucd 2011

ucd 2011

January 2011

 This is my list of the different bird species I've managed to see around UCD since Jan 4th 2011:

Woods behind Vets bldg,UCD

1. Blackbird -  absolutely everywhere on campus
2. Mute Swan -  Main Lake, where 2 nest every year

Mute Swan in front of O'Reilly Hall, UCD
Cygnet Mute Swan (1 of 6), Main lake, UCD

  3.Teal Highest seen = 6 on 18/01/2011, 4 female, 2 male - Secret lakes

Female Teal, UCD. I saw 6 Teal here, 18 Jan 2011

4.Mallard - Main lake and secret lakes (behind Conways)
Male Mallards, late for class, steps of Main lake,UCD
Female Mallard - gorgeous colour speculum, Main lake, UCD
Female Mallard and chicks, Main lake, ucd

Mallard Chick, main lake, ucd

5.Tufted Duck -  Main lake

Tufted Duck, ucd main lake - lovely purple sheen to face
Tufted Duck juvenile, Main lake

6. Moorhen, Secret lakes and Main lake

Moorhen, Secret lakes, ucd

Moorhen chick, Secret Lakes, ucd

7.Water Rail (19/01/2011) - I saw it out in the open whilst joggers jogged by - my only decent sighting I'd get of it all winter - behind Conways near Secret Lakes
8.Black-headed Gull, most common gull on campus - fields and main lake

Black Headed Gull, Main lake, ucd

 9. Herring Gull, Main lake

Herring Gull, Main Lake, UCD

10.Common Gull, 2 in with gulls on pitches next to church
11.Wood Pigeon - 30 wood pigeons feeding on field next to church (Jan 24th)

Wood Pigeon, ucd

12. Collared Dove, not so common, but around - near Film Building next to Rosemount woods.
13. Kingfisher (21/01/2011) seen twice on same day, flying between the Secret Lakes
14. Jackdaw, everywhere

Jackdaw begging, ucd lakes

15. Rook, everywhere
16. Hooded Crow, everywhere
17. Goldcrest - lots around ucd, good views in nearly all of the various woods
18. Blue Tit
19. Great Tit

Great tit chick, Rosemount, ucd

20.Coal Tit

Coal Tit chick, Rosemount, ucd

21.Long Tailed tit, lots around ucd - especially in woods behind vets (constant flock of 6)

basking Long Tailed tit, ucd

22.Wren, behind Restaurant, up at Roebuck and in most woods
23.Starling - flock in trees at top of rugby pitches, also in trees behind Restaurant
24.Song Thrush, behind Restaurant
25.Redwing, highest flock of 30 field behind Nova, but lots around campus.
26.Mistle Thrush, especially up at Rugby pitches (7 feeding on same pitch)
27.Linnet - flock of 30 in treesat rugby pitches
28.Lesser Redpoll (20th Jan), tree, rugby pitches
29.Greenfinch, Rosemount woods
30.Goldfinch - esp near stream at back of Library
31.Bullfinch, Roebuck, Rosemount and Vet woods

Male Bullfinch, Vets carpark, ucd
Female Bullfinch, Vets carpark, ucd


Robin, Vets carpark, ucd
Robin chick, Vets carpark

34.Grey Wagtail, often seen in stream behind Library. I have also seen one right up at UCD's Clonskeagh entrance.
35.Pied Wagtail, front of Main Rest, walking in and out automatic doors in winter! Common aswell near AIB on campus and near Main Lake and in front of O'Reilly Hall.

Pied Wagtail chick, main lake, ucd

Pied Wagtail, ucd main lake

36. Siskin - in tree behind Vets

Leucistic Blackbird, or "Nutcracker" as some people like to think

Saw either Kestrel or Sparrowhawk, flying at speed across rugby pitches - not sure which so won't list it.
38. Dunnock, behind vets

Dunnock, wall behind Library, ucd
In this freezing January weather I see c.200 gulls on pitches nxt to church every morning and I see, c.300 crows on same pitches at dusk.
Funny to see a field of 200 white gulls in the morning and 300 black crows n the same field - not sure why.

February 2011
High numbers of Redwings, 30 in one field (behind Nova), 28 on rugby pitches, always c.16 in leaves next to Main Restaurant.
Teal still hanging around but I haven't seen Water Rail in weeks.

March 2011
Lots of nesting activity around ucd.
Down behind Conway/Vets, a couple of Long Tailed tits bringing feathers to make a nest.
March 1st - Magpies have started building a nest outside my office, frequent territorial fights with a couple of Hooded Crows means that by March 10th the Magpies seem to have abandoned their nest, shame, I would have enjoyed watching their comings and goings.
The Mute Swan is on her nest.
Massive scrap witnessed between two Goldcrests.
March 8th- 2 Redwings still around.
March 14th - 1 Redwing still present.
Very happy to see Magpies at the nest again, undfeated by the hooded crow - disappointed when I realised they were actually just taking twigs from this nest to a new nest somewhere else. Booo.
March 14th- 10 Redwing still around in trees near Roebuck
March 15th - 3 Redwing and Mistle thrush seen from office. Magpies still moving twigs from old nest to new nest. Whatever.

39. Grey Heron (low in flight), not common around ucd at all, so unusual to see one around the lake
I emailed Ian, birder friend in Trinity who's also keeping a list of Trinity birds, and he's on 29 since Jan 2011 (evil cackle).
March 23rd - Grey Heron, again low in flight, exactly the same time as yesterday morning, exactly same flight path..

Grey Heron, ucd main lake

40. Blackcap (female) in a tree near Roebuck with 2 feeding Long Tailed Tits and a female and male Bullfinch.

Male Blackcap (female has a brown head, but didn't have my camera that day), UCD.

March 25th -Male Blackcap in the same tree I saw the female Blackcap yesterday. Plus I saw a very tame male Bullfinch and female Bullfinch in the same hedge I saw them yesterday, so I'm assuming that's their nesting spot.
Saw a Wren in a tree, it was again very tame and flitted around like I wasn't there, meant I was able to watch it really close up for a good 10 minutes. Felt like an honour to watch and hear it sing for so long.
March 29th - Just arrived at work, got out of car and Grey Heron flew over my head being fiercely mobbed by 4 Herring Gulls. New kid on the block obviously not welcome.
Going on a mission to try and find a Feral Pigeon on campus now that Niall has mentioned I don't have one listed. I'm sure I've seen one and forgotten to list it, but not certain, so I'll go looking over the next few days if I get a chance.
41.Feral Pigeon - imagine - Feral pigeons are actually quite scarce around campus! You won't see them on the ground, but get the lift up to the 5th floor of the Library, look out a window and there's a healthy number hanging around the roof of the library and arts buildings - I'm sure annoying all the students trying to study. Weird why they hang out on the roof and never on the ground??

Feral Pigons - found on roof areas and window ledges of ucd library and arts building, but weirdly not on the ground.

I've been wondering which are the likely birds I'm likey to see/hear over the next few months to try and push this list to 50.

Eventually I'd hope to see:
Oystercatchers (saw 8 last year on footie pitches)
House Sparrows?
Black tailed Godwit?
Willow Warbler?
Swallow (saw last year)
Swift (saw last year)
Housemartin (saw last year)
Stock Dove?
Tree Creeper?
Brent Geese (later in the year)
Med Gull?
GBB Gull - maybe?
Curlew -maybe?
Skylark - maybe?
and I can dream of a Crossbill, Yellowhammer, Long Eared Owl and Stonechat

So an aim of a possible 60 species....

April 2011
April 4th- Still no House Sparrows to be found - and I've been putting in the distance to see them too.
My next area will be all the residences around campus - sure to see some there.
Mute Swan still on her nest, with a broken white plastic remote control boat and a very unhappy looking (dead) Blackheaded Gull at the foot of the nest.
April 8th, quick glimpse from office window of either House Martin or a Swallow, great to see. Walked the potential House Sparrow areas again - outside Centra, shops, Creche, Sports Hall, near people, near human food scraps, Holly bushes, rubbish bins from the apartments - not a chirrup of a House Sparrow to be had.

May 2011
May 4th - There are now 6 new little Cygnets on the Main UCD lake, they are swimming around being fiercely guarded by the new parents.
May 6th - Flutter of excitement today. I think I caught a half second view of a Whitethroat down behind Conway. Bumped into BC for the first time in ages, asked if he'd ever seen a Whitethroat in ucd before 'No' he says, 'Well, I think I just saw one'... chitchat, he walked off and then I'm 90% sure I hear the Whitethroat singing. Quite a bellowing song, like a Blackbird on speed. Will keep eyes peeled for definite id.
42. Swallow - Managed a definite sighting of a Swallow in flight and then sitting on a wire up near Roebuck.

Swallow, UCD football piches

Swallow, UCD football piches

43. Chiffchaff - seen and heard singing high up in a tree near scrub field at Roebuck.
44. Swift - I thought I saw a Swift a few times last week and today I finally clocked it good and proper. Flying over the footie fields opp sports centre

June 2011
45. Lesser Black Backed Gull,  glowing yellow legs = species number 45 in UCD.

Lesser Black backed Gull, UCD lake

46. Housemartin (eventually! 28th June) - saw white rump from office window

Housemartin with white rump, football pitches, UCD

July 2011
Not going to list Med Gull yet until I've seen it again up close and personal, but saw one in the distance on Football pitches in with 20 or so Black Headed gulls. I watched it for a good 5 mins and am certain it was a Med Gull, but didn't have bins and it was too far away to be certain.

46½ - Heard Curlew calling from near Quinn building, haven't seen it yet - or heard it again, but so certain it was a Curlew.
47. Mediterranean Gull, 25th July - out looking for the adult med gull I think I saw the other day I found a med gull moulting into its 2nd winter coat! Result.

August 2011
Not too much news worthy going on around campus... same birds hanging out in the same spots.
The campus is much quiter now it's the end of Aug - all the Italian/ Spanish student madness has finally finished and the 'proper' ucd students haven't started term yet.
A lot of birds are in moult so they're keeping a low profile, some are exhausted after the breeding season and birdsong is near non existent as they don't need it anymore to attract mates or defend territories yet.
Swallows and Housemartins are still in the sky, but I haven't spotted a Swift for a while.
Aug 24th - 8 Swallows flying over carpark back of Quinn bldg.
Aug 28th - 9.30am, for 30 seconds- Spotted a poss juv Buzzard circling and flapping very high over Rosemount woods area, heading over Arts and then over Main Restaurant bldg. Poor light, distance and id skills made definite id impossible for me, so won't list it.

September 2011
Sept 20th - 5 Swallows flying over footie fields, 2 Wrens shrilling, Coal tits, Blue tits, Long tailed tits and Goldcrests all flying around again - great to see - and hear! Possible sighting of House Sparrows (finally!) and possible Willlow Warbler, though might have been a Chiffchaff - one of the few times I go out without bins and 2 possible species I haven't got turn up (House Sparrow and Willow Warbler). Will try again tomorrow.

48. ONLY TOOK 9 MONTHS AND 22 DAYS to SPOT A FLIPPIN HOUSE SPARROW!!! Sept 22nd. Went back to the hedges I thought I saw House Sparrows at yesterday. I've looked at these hedges millions of times, seen plenty of other species there, never House Sparrows, until yesterday and today after a long stint watching them - a definite sighting!! Got a fleeting glimpse of a female House Sparrow first, then saw the back head of a male House Sparrow which turned round and showed me it's black chin and full House Sparrow glory. What struck me from this sighting was how silent the House Sparrows were. I was hoping for at least a little chirrup to give the game away after seeing the female, but silence. Anyway, House Sparrow 48.

Sept 27th - the last week has seen the start of singing and noise returning to campus (from the birds, aswell as the students!). From my office, after months of 'not much', I saw the flash of yellow and red from 2 Goldfinches in a tree and the punk eyestripe of a Blue Tit in the same tree. I keep watching the leaves on the grass below - it was a great spot for Redwings earlier in the year and any day now I'm expecting them to appear as reports of them are starting to come in from around the country. Lots of berries around. 2 Swallows seen today.

October 2011
Oct 11th - flock of 25 Linnets from my office window, lovely to see something different out there until Magpie flapped them off. Flock of 20ish Goldfinches feeding in tree next to footie field. Great views of 3 Goldcrests down on metal fence path. Also saw Adult Wood pigeons feeding juvenile Woodpigeons in a tree near Secret Lakes - 2nd brood? Juv Woodpij looked very big and healthy anyway.

November 2011
49. Oystercatchers! Nov 29th - Heavy constant rain, no car parking spaces so had to park up at the gravel pit at clonskeagh gate and walk down. Happy days - counted 45 Oystercatchers feeding on the footie pitches.
Temperatures still averaging 12°-14°, there probably are some Redwings around campus but I haven't seen any despite hanging around berry trees and the places I've seen thrushes feeding.

December 2011
Dec 7th - Temps have only taken a tumble in the last few days, today is similar to yesterday 5°, clear blue sky and sunny. 26 Tufted Ducks on the lake along with c.50 black headed gulls, 4 Moorhens, 14 Mallards and 2 Mute Swans. Still no sign of Redwings or Fieldfare.

50 - FLY OVER LITTLE EGRET - thankyou very much, I'll be avin that.
Dec 12th - Last year me and Niall went traipsing around ucd and he spotted a Little Egret in a field belonging to a school next to UCD. I've never seen that Little Egret again since until this morning when it flew right past my office window.
I have 8 days left to try and find the time to get out and see Brambling, flippin Treecreeper, get a proper look at the raptor that I see for 2 seconds before its out of view - so Sparrowhawk or Kestrel, Brent might land, Waxwings might land?!

2011 Summary

List of 'Common as muck and easily seen' over an hours walk around UCD campus (via Main Lake, Vets woods and Rosemount woods) - 22 Species
Hooded crow
Pied wagtail
Blue tit
Great tit
Coal tit
Long tailed tit
Wood pigeon
Black headed gull
Mute swan
Tufted duck
Herring gull
Redwings (Jan - March)
Swallows (May - September)

Common, but not as common as muck - 9 Species
House martin (June - August)
Swift (May - August)
Feral pigeon (they live on the roof of the arts block)
Mistle thrush

Cool little sighting around UCD, only randomly seen during a walk - 8 Species
Grey heron
Grey wagtail
Lesser black backed gull (summer)
Song thrush
Collared dove
Chiffchaff (May - July)

Rare in UCD - 6 Species
House sparrow - yes that's what I said, House Sparrow (seen once in the whole year)
Siskin - again, seen once in the whole year.
Oystercatcher - seen a few times in flock feeding on footie fields in really bad rainy weather (Nov/ Dec)
Linnets - seen in big flock handful of times in year
Teal (Jan - Feb) 
Lesser redpoll - seen once, but probably around a lot more than noticed

Rare in UCD - sight for sore eyes - 4 Species
Kingfisher - seen twice in year
Water rail - seen a couple of times (January)
Little egret - seen once flying by my office window
Mediterranean gull - seen twice in July

So there you go.

The Treecreeper eluded me, as did Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Willow warbler, Brambling and Stock dove which are all around campus but I failed to see.