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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Little Egrets into triple figures

Little Egrets, Caherfealane, October 2016 (M.O'Clery).

The first Little Egret recorded in Kerry was in  September 1957 at Blennerville and was at the time the 6th Irish record. By the 1990s it was pretty much annual and by the early 2000s - 'the noughties' - was averaging about 10 to 15 a year. The first double figure count was, surprisingly, also the first breeding record - 6 pairs nesting near Inch in spring 2006 - followed quickly by a count of 30 in that area the following August. 

Double figure counts have been regular for several years now at Blennerville/Tralee Bay, and Castlemaine Harbour and occasionally at other sites such as Trabeg and Burnham Lagoon. However recent counts of this species have set the bar higher again, and then again in the space of a few weeks.

A new Kerry record of 70 were at Blennerville in the first days of September this year, but that record tumbled when Little Egret counts finally made into the hundreds. 116 were counted today on the eastern shores of Castemaine Harbour/ River Maine area, during a fruitless search for the Great White Egret. How long before that record count is broken again?

Little Egret, Castlegregory Marsh, June 2015 (M.O'Clery).

(with thanks to Ed Carty).

More video of the White-rumped

The White-rumped Sandpiper at Black Rock continues to give extraordinarily close views, down to 4m (12ft).

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 24th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).
Hit the arrow symbol, top right, for full screen view.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Great Blasket

 
Pectoral Sandpiper, Great Blasket island, 21st September 2017 (Sue Redican).

The first record of this species for the island group.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Great Blasket island, 21st September 2017 (Sue Redican).

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Norwegian ringed Bar-tailed Godwit seen in Kerry

Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Rock, 17th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Rock, 17th September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Thanks to Kilian Kelly for sending us details of a recent finding of a Norwegian ringed Bar-tailed Godwit seen at Black Rock on Friday last.

Ring no: Stavanger 7218386
Yellow flag  NCM (Left tarsus : metal. Left tibia, red colour ring. Right tibia, yellow flag  engraved with three black letters NCM).
Age/sex/ biometric: Male M1K, hatched 2017.
Ringing date: 06.09.2016.
Ringing place: Revtangen (58*45'10''N-005*29'25''E) Klepp, Rogaland, Norway.

Finding date: 17.09.2017.
Observed: Black Rock (52*21'N-009*50'W), Ballinprior, Kerry, IRELAND
Distance: 1270 km WSW. Direction: 236 deg. 11 days after ringing.
Remarks: Photodocumented. Feeding with ca 50 other Bar-tailed Godwits and other species.
Observed  by: Killian Kelly.

A 1270 km journey for our Bar-tailed Godwit.

Friday, 22 September 2017

A most obliging White-rumped at Black Rock


Video of White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Kilian Kelly). 
Click on the arrow symbol top right for full screen view).

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

Curlew Sandpiper with Dunlin, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Kilian Kelly).

Little Stint, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

Great White Egret, Maine River, near Caherfealane pier, 22nd September 2017 (Ed Carty).

Present now for a third day.

Great White still present

Great White Egret, with Little Egrets and Grey Heron, Maine River, 21st September 2017 (Ian Jones).

A second day for the Great White Egret, on the Maine river bank near the pier at Caherfealane, near Boolteens. It's all looking a bit exotic there, with up to 60 Little Egrets in the area.

Great White Egret, Maine River, 21st September 2017 (Ian Jones).

White-rumped Sandpiper at Black Rock

White-rumped Sandpiper, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (David O'Connor).

Possibly the same bird that was at Carrahane a few days ago.

Curlew Sandpiper, Black Rock, 20th September 2017 (David O'Connor).

Curlew Sandpipers are scarce this autumn and though numbers are highly variable each year, this does not look likely to be a vintage year.

Little Stints, Black Rock, 22nd September 2017 (David O'Connor).

Curlew Sandpiper, Black Rock, 21st September 2017 (David O'Connor).

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Great White Egret on River Maine - 7th Kerry record

Great White Egret, Maine River, 20th September 2017 (all photos: Michael O'Clery).

This stupidly-lanky-yet-hypnotically-elegant heron was present at high tide along the Maine river bank just to the east of the pier at Caherfealane. At one point, harassed by a local Grey Heron it took an indecisive and leisurely flight upriver for about a kilometre before eventually circling back and landing once more in the original spot. Then the Hooded Crows started having a go, though they barely came up to its knee, and even I wouldn't fancy my chances against a swift stab from that long yellow dagger of a bill.

The seventh county record.

Great White Egret, Maine River, 20th September 2017.

Great White Egret, Maine River, 20th September 2017.

Here, with three of its smaller counterparts, Little Egrets. Next to this fella they do indeed look 'little'.

Great White Egret, Maine River, 20th September 2017.

Great White Egret, Maine River, 20th September 2017.

Numbers in Britain and Europe are on the increase and breeding has taken place annually in England since they first bred there, in Somerset in 2012. Surely we will be seeing more of this majestic bird in the Kingdom and, from the Kerry records (below) kept by Ed Carty, the pace of occurrences is quickening.

2009 (1) Ballyseedy, 30th Jan.
         (1) Akearagh Lough, 1st-13th Oct. 
2012 (1) Castlemaine, 21st-29th Oct.
2015 (1) Smerwick-Ventry, 31st Oct.-12th Nov., presumed same at Ventry, 14th Nov.
2016 (1) near Portmagee, 27th-30th Sept.
2017 (1) near Kenmare, 12th April.
2017 (1) Caherfealane, 20th Sept.
(with thanks to Ed Carty).

Monday, 18 September 2017

Little Stint trio, Derrymore

Three juvenile Little Stints, Derrymore, 18th September 2017 (Michael O'Clery).

Three juvenile Little Stints, Derrymore, 18th September 2017 (Michael O'Clery).

Buff-b. Sand. at unpronounceable spot on Valentia Island.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Valentia Island, 17th September (Pat McDaid).

This bird has been present for several days now and is frequenting the wild, open grassy areas at the tip of Beenakryrakka Head.

You know the spot... just north of Coosnaraka and Coosnalarabaunia... No? ah, for goodness sake. Right by the bay at Coosheennagruhage and the fields at Knockaunadagrean!

Ok then, how about. "NW tip of Valentia Island, near the weather station"?

'Benna... what? 
Ok then, "1km west of Coosgorm Rocks". See HERE for info on that spot.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Valentia Island, 17th September (Pat McDaid).