Thursday, April 19, 2018

Continental Cormorants

I grew up on the banks of the River Slaney in Enniscorthy, County Wexford.  As young kids in the early 1970's my brother Jim and my cousin Jim, spent most of our summers exploring the banks and tributaries of this grand river. Exploring Kingfisher nests along with Sandmartins and finding bridges where Grey Wagtails were living were some of our childhood activities. Over the winter I have been back and forth visiting my aging parents and regularly take walks along the river south of the Riverside Hotel, where I often photograph the birds and wildlife along its banks.  When we were growing up here, there were no Little Egrets in Ireland, Buzzards were rare and Continental Cormorants we new nothing about. Even Reed Warblers had not colonised the Slaney at that point.  Now Continental Cormorants seem to be an everyday occurrence.  Here are a selection of shots from a few visits during March of this year.
 Adult Cormorant showing charachteristics of Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis John N Murphy
 Immature Cormorant showing characteristics Continental Cormorant of Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis  John N Murphy
Two adult Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax Carbo John N Murphy
 Adult Grey Herons John N Murphy
Grey Heron with Little Egrets and Little Egrets John N Murphy
Adult male Grey Wagtail John N Murphy
 Long-tailed Tit John N Murphy
 Indian Goose an introduced species to the Slaney John N Murphy

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Iceland Gull with dark wing edges

This sub-adult Iceland Gull has been on Kilkee beach for the last two weeks along side the American Herring Gull.  I see Richard Bonser made comments online about it having a black spot on the left wing and dark edges to the outer primaries. I was intrigued, so I made sure to take shots and study the bird a little closer during my visit to see the AMG.  The bird had no black spots in any of the primaries, but a gap in the feather of P10 on the left wing and the edges of the wings were dark as Richard stated.  But most of the darkness on the under primaries was caused by sand and dirt that the bird picked up on the beach, as it scrambled for food with the other gulls. There was however some dark lines on the outer trailing edge of the primaries on the upper and lower of both wings that is not consistent nor the standard for Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides, but it did not appear to be anything else either such as Kumliens Iceland Gull from Canada Larus glaucoides kumlieni ?  I think it is just one of those that we will have to let go unless genetically tested.
 P10 is showing a lot of dark edges especially at the tip
 Here one can see the gap in the outer feather of P10
 Once again an indentation on P10 of the left wing
 The underside of P10 with sand spattered along the primary and dark edges to the outer tip
 Here the outer edges of all the under primaries appear dark
3CY or Sub adult Iceland Gull at Kilkee John N Murphy

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Long-tailed Duck

This immature male Long-tailed Duck has been feeding in Kilkee Bay for over a week now.  He is obviously getting lots of food from the bed of the sandy bay. I do not get very many opportunities to photograph this sea duck, as the majority of birds are normally miles out to sea, and in rough weather.

 Long-tailed Duck at Kilkee Bay John N Murphy

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

American Herring Gull

I made it back to Kilkee early this morning to see the American Herring Gull Larus argentatus smithsonianus , found two days ago by Niall Keogh and Brian Power,  before departing to head to work in south Waterford.  Gull numbers were low along the seafront and only a handful of immatures were gathering at the river outflow. There was no sign of the bird, so I had to go up town to John Nolan at Nolan's Deli, for a coffee and to secure a bag of stale bread to chuck out to attracted the gulls down.   Within minutes birds were wheeling about and just like magic the smith's appeared in the dull early morning light from some location in the middle of Kilkee high street. This is a second county record. It has been ten years since the first appeared brifly back near Cloghaun Lough where Finbarr McGabhann and myself managed to locate a bird in fields with a dozen Herring Gulls, and managed to snap off about three shots out the car window before that bird vanished out of sight.  See last shot below.

Immature American Herring Gull at Kilkee John N Murphy
Immature American Herring Gull at Loop Head in 2008 John N Murphy

Monday, March 12, 2018

Otter on the Slaney

This Otter was actively feed along the banks of the River Slaney last week south of Enniscorthy Town. in Wexford.

Dog Otter John N Murphy