Sunday, February 18, 2018


There were nine Iceland Gulls in the fields around Loop Head yesterday.  Here is a small selection of some of the birds including one in Kilbaha Harbour.

 Iceland Gulls at Loop Head John N Murphy

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Trumpeter Finch

On my visit to Lanzarote I came upon six separate little flocks of Trumeter Finches.  The largest group were consistently present at the east fence of the airport at Accerife.   Here over four days of visiting the same spot, a group of 12-15 birds fed on seeds just inside the double perimeter fence of the airfield, occasionally coming outside to rough sandy ground to feed.

 Trumpeter Finch near at Accerife Airport, Lanzarote John N Murphy

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Houbara Bustard

On my first ever trip to Lanzarote between the 4th and 11th February 2018, I located only four Houbara Bustards and these were a life time tick for me.  On the 7th,  I located one bird in open plains west of Nazaret along the north side of the LZ-408 close to LZ-30.  This was an individual male.  One the 8th three were feeding in open cultivated fields along the west of the LZ-402 west of Teguise, near a large goat/sheep farm.  These three birds were very confiding after an hour of slow approach.  All the shots I too of these birds were with my Canon 600mm F4 and 1.4 convertor attached, so I was still a long way back for all the shots and the birds did not flush. At one point the two males were displaying to the female wing flutters and dancing flight action. 
Houbara Bustards, Lanzarote John N Murphy


Just back after a warm week of sunshine of in Lanzarote, Spain.  Got all the endemic species and about 50 bird species overall.  Highlights were the Houbara Bustards, Berthelot's Pipits, Trumpeter Finch, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Stone Curlew, Southern Grey Shrike and many more.
Houbara Bustards John N Murphy
 Stone Curlew John N Murphy
 Southern Grey Shrike John N Murphy
Lesser Short-toed Lark John N Murphy
 Trumpeter Finch John N Murphy
 Berthelot's Pipit John N Murphy
 Hoopoe John N Murphy
 Black-necked Grebes John N Murphy
 Ruddy Shelduck John N Murphy
 Black-winged Stilt John N Murphy

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Icelandic Redwing

I was back at Seafield, Quilty on the 8th January where the fields adjacent to the shore were full of Redwings and Song Thrushes, all along the coastline. While I was watching a first-winter Little Gull and some Tree Sparrows in a field where horses were feeding, I noticed this dark Redwing.  Within minutes of viewing it through the bins I was confident that it was an Icelandic Redwing Turdus iliacus coburni. It was only last year that I had a big discussion with fellow ornithologist, that I could not believe we had never fully identified this sub species in the county before.  I am sure that they have turned up here in the past, but this was the first confirmed record of the Icelandic race in the county. Note the overall darkness of the bird the clean white patch on the upper breast and the dark under-tail coverts. Apologies for the poor quality images but the bird was distant and the light poor.
Icelandic Redwing at Seafield John N Murphy