Thursday, 14 July 2011

Wildlife sightings 28th June-14th July

Sorry about the lack of updates lately folks, I've been slipping behind a bit! Just thought I'd post some recent notes on wildlife sightings from the area over the past 2 weeks with some pics to keep you tied over until I do a colony update (which will be up tomorrow), so anyways, here you go:

Birding in the general area hasn't been too bad of late to be honest (July can sometimes be dead quiet). A flock of 175+ moulting Mallard on the marsh have drawn in 5 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, 4 fledged juvenile Shoveler (from this years successful breeding pair) & a male Wigeon. Other species of note include up to 25 Little Egrets (incl. several juveniles), a Kingfisher and a escapee/feral Bar-headed Goose along with a Barnacle Goose in The Breaches on 4th July. Cole & Jason flushed a Quail from the Marram Grass along the railway embankment near our caravans on 7th July but the less said about that the better because I've never seen one!!! :(

The northward passage from the Lady's Island Lake gull & tern colony in Co. Wexford continues with family parties of Sandwich Terns, quite a few juvenile Black-headed Gulls, small numbers of adult Common & Arctic Terns, 3 more adult Roseate Terns & a total of 15 Mediterranean Gulls (incl. 9 juveniles) all moving north since my last post. A juvenile Common Gull has even made an appearance but I'm not so sure where it may have originated from. A couple of 1st-summer Little Gulls have dropped into The Breaches during periods of inclement weather, with a fine adult summer bird making an appearance there too on 5th July. A Peregrine which passed over the colony this morning was not only being mobbed by a large group of terns but also by an adult dark phase Arctic Skua which was an awesome sight to say the least! After the 'Pere' had gone  the terns then switched their attention to the skua who was promptly seen off. The thanks you get eh?

Wader passage is tipping along nicely with max. counts in brackets for the following species; Curlew (75+), Turnstone (20+), stunning adult summer Black-tailed Godwits (55), Redshank (21), Dunlin (20), Common Sandpiper (6), Golden Plover (2), Knot (2), Whimbrel (2) and singles of Greenshank & Sanderling. A Green Sandpiper that dropped into The Breaches this morning was most welcome & hopefully is a sign of good things to come!

Green Sandpiper © Niall Keogh
Some recent spells of calm & sunny weather have brought local Lepidoptera out in force. Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small White & Speckled Wood have all been noted along with a nice Hummingbird Hawk-moth on 3rd July. Cetacean sightings have also picked up with several sightings of a mother & calf Harbour Porpoise (feeding 20m off the beach yesterday evening!) plus another single adult over the past few days. The now infamous trio of Bottlenose Dolphins were also seen on Monday & Wednesday, breaching 50m offshore at times! At least 2 Otters are still knocking about in The Breaches & Webb's field most nights too.

Harbour Porpoise © Niall Keogh 
Small Tortoiseshell © Niall Keogh 

Meadow Brown © Niall Keogh

Common Blue Damselfly © Niall Keogh
Pyramidal Orchid © Niall Keogh

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