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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Eastern Jackdaw, Rough Pt.

Eastern Jackdaw (right), Rough Point, 30th January 2015 (Michael O'Clery).

Eastern Jackdaw, Rough Point, 30th January 2015 (Michael O'Clery).

Eastern Jackdaw, Rough Point, 30th January 2015 (Michael O'Clery).

Thursday, 28 January 2016

More photos of the Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull, Cashen Estuary, 28th January 2016 (David O'Connor).

Franklin's Gull, Cashen Estuary, 28th January 2016 (David O'Connor).

Franklin's Gull, Cashen Estuary, 28th January 2016 (David O'Connor).

Video of Glaucous Gull

First-winter Glaucous Gull at Inch beach, 27th January 2016, pecking at some unsavoury remains (Michael O'Clery).

(you can click the 'four arrows' symbol for a closer view)

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Franklin's Gull - second Kerry record

Second winter Franklin's Gull, The Cashen, 26th January 2016 (Davey Farrar).

The second record for Kerry, after the first Irish record at Black Rock on 7th May 1993.

An adult Atlantic Gull, two Iceland Gulls and two Ring-billed Gulls were also present in and around the Cashen today.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Thank heaven for Little Gulls

Surely one of the prettiest of gulls, Little Gulls are scarce in Kerry, with usually fewer than 10 records a year. Most of these are seen on sea watches from headlands in autumn, but ones and twos are also occasionally seen at coastal sites in winter.

First-winter Little Gull, Rough Point, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

 
First-winter Little Gull, Rough Point, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

First-winter Little Gull, Rough Point, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

Second winter Iceland Gull, Cashen Estuary, 25th January 2016 (Davey Farrar).

Second winter Iceland Gull, Cashen Estuary, 25th January 2016 (Davey Farrar).

Glaucous Gull, Inch beach, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

Anyone who spends time watching gulls will realise sooner or later that there are some individuals which don't quite 'fit the mould', and here's one such Common Gull, present for several weeks now around Rough Point/Fahamore. At a distance, on the water (eg., bottom pic), it looks almost like a Sabine's Gull... close up, it looks like, well, a hooded Common Gull. The mantle colour is similar to the local Common Gulls, so it's not an eastern type. Perhaps just at the extreme dark end of the head markings. Mind you, the eye crescents look a little more prominent... hmmm... Anyone any thoughts on this?

Common Gull, Rough Point, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

Common Gull, Rough Point, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

Common Gull, Rough Point, 25th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

One such bird was flagged by Lee Evans in 2010 - see HERE, and another was on a Norwegian website from 2008 - see HERE

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Glaucous Gull, Inch

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Inch beach, 24th January 2015 (Sean O'Callaghan).

Origins of a ringed Dunlin

This Dunlin was photographed by David O'Connor at Black Rock on 15th December 2015. Turns out, it was ringed in Poland last year...


Dunlin, Black Rock, 15th December 2015 (David O'Connor).

Stop the Slash and Burn

The mild and windy weather this winter has resulted in record rainfall. You can be sure however, that when a high pressure system finally settles over us, and there are a few bright, dry days, that there will be many a hill farmer setting off up the hills with a box of matches in hand.

Many visitors to Kerry will think of our hills and mountains as wild and untamed, but the truth is that centuries of burning and over-grazing in many areas has led to a denuded, biologically impoverished upland landscape. Just look for an intact stand of lush heather anywhere in the Kerry mountains and you'll soon see what damage is being done to biodiversity.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, rather than protecting out natural heritage, is bowing to pressure from farming groups and has proposed changes to the Wildlife Act that will allow for the burning of vegetation in March and the cutting of hedgerows in August - extending the seasons of both into bird nesting seasons.

This is the aftermath of a huge wildfire on the Dingle Peninsula, set illegally in the third week of April 2015, long after the legal date of up to 1st March. The implications for nesting birds and other wildlife is obvious (M.O'Clery).

The Irish Wildlife Trust have an online petition to get this decision reversed. Take a moment, and add your voice. You just have to go to the page, and add your name and email address. You'll find it HERE.

Let's say enough is enough. Next dry day, when the Kerry hillsides are alight once more and the smoke plumes are stretching miles into the air, say that at least you added your name to a campaign to try to reign in the torching of our uplands.

More from BirdWatch Ireland - see HERE.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Black-necked Grebe still at Reen Pier

 Black-necked Grebe, Reen Pier, 18th January 2015 (David O'Connor).

Iceland Gull, Reenard Point 19th January 2015 (David O'Connor).

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Glossy Ibises and more

Glossy Ibises, Murrioch, near Ballydavid, 16th January 2016 (Cate Ni Dhomhnaill).

Ring-billed Gull, TBWC, 16th January 2016 (Ed Carty).

Three are now three 'ring-billeds' present in and around the Wetlands Centre, though the highest count in Kerry was of 13 at Blennerville in April 1986.

Ring-billed Gull, TBWC, 16th January 2016 (Ed Carty).

Ring-billed Gull, TBWC, 16th January 2016 (Ed Carty).

Common Sandpiper, Scraggane Beach, 15th January 2016 (Michael O'Clery).

Saturday, 16 January 2016

American Wigeon, still at the Inny

American Wigoen, Inny Estuary, 16th January 2016 (Pat McDaid).

American Wigoen, Inny Estuary, 16th January 2016 (Pat McDaid).

Friday, 15 January 2016

Kumlien's Gull again, Tralee

Kumlien's Gull, Tralee, 15th January 2016 (Kilian Kelly).

Kumlien's Gull, Tralee, 15th January 2016 (Kilian Kelly).

The same bird from last week (see post below)

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler, Ross Castle

Yellow-browed Warbler, Ross Castle, 9th January 2016 (Davey Farrar).

This is the first winter record for Kerry of this tiny Siberian Warbler, though perhaps not as surprising is the location, the stream at Ross Castle, Killarney, where in recent years 50+ Chiffchaffs and at least 7 'Tristis' or Siberian Chiffchaffs have wintered. 3 Tristis and about 30 Chiffchaff are currently at the site, despite the floods in the area and the unusually mild winter so far.

Despite their small size, Yellow-broweds migrate huge distances, with birds from northern Siberia wintering on the NE Indian subcontinent, SE Asia and Taiwan, so this tiny bird is really on the 'wrong' side of the world. The nearest breeding grounds to us are around the Ural Mountains and Pechora River in Russia, a straight line distance of at least 3,500 km (2,200 miles).

Breeding range (yellow) and wintering areas (blue) of Yellow-browed Warbler. (from HBW Alive).

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Kumlien's Gull, Tralee

An excellent candidate for a Kumlien's Gull, seen briefly today in Tralee.

Kumlien's Gull, Tralee, 5th January 2016 (Kilian Kelly).

Kumlien's Gull, Tralee, 5th January 2016 (Kilian Kelly).

More Iceland and Glaucous Gulls have been popping up around Kerry and elsewhere around Ireland  in the past few days, so perhaps there might be more of these enigmatic 'White-winged gulls' to be found... or rather, 'Not-quite-white-winged, rather brown-washed primaries gulls'... Not sure that name will catch on.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Barnacle Goose at Blennerville

Barnacle Goose, with Brent Geese, Blennerville, 31st December 2015 (Hubert Servignat).

Quite possibly the same bird which appeared alone and exhausted at Black Rock in October (see post HERE), then appeared healthy and well with the Brent Goose flock at Carrahane a week or so later. About 150 Barnacle Geese are currently wintering on the Magharee Islands, the highest number there in well over a decade.