Friday, May 27, 2011

Big Friendly Gulls (BFG's)

I must say I haven’t got that much to say today. Over the last few days I took a few more strolls through the city and spend a couple of hours in Cobh hoping that maybe the House crow that lives there would come down from the rooftops. Alas, he didn’t even show up. Never mind because I found a load of gulls (which ain’t so common in the city this time of year). Mostly herring gulls, though I spotted some common gulls and lesser black backed gulls too. Highlight of the day turned out to be the two below. 

The Great(er) black backed gull is the largest of the Irish gulls, its strong bill, huge size and jet black wings make it easy to identify and tell apart from other species. It’s much less approachable then most gulls and this is the first time I got a good shot! Usually I get grainy images of them on sandbanks 100 meters away.

Kittiwake. Wow, what a pleasant surprise, I haven’t seen one of these in years since my last visit to the Skelligs. Its more delicate then Larus genus gulls like herring and black backed gulls and has a different build too. I’m not entirely educated on the genetics of gulls but the kittiwake looks distinctly like it belongs close on the family tree to terns, or maybe it’s just the short black legs that give it the tern like posture? Either way it really is a stunning bird.

I always imagine gulls as the unfriendly giants from Roald Dahl’s BFG as each has a slightly different way of getting their food and has different grouping behaviours. The kittiwake would probably be the BFG while the great black backed would likely be the Bonecruncher!

A house sparrow, surprisingly hard to find (or photograph) these days.

A young cormorant relaxing in Cobh posing nicely, I saw several others here too.

Back in Cork the pheasant was back in the very same place as before and seems to recur here daily. I have found him and his mate here several times now. I’ve named them Terryo and Quinn! 

Also, a goldcrest suddenly appeared on UCC campus and stayed for about ten seconds within a meter of me. The shots aren’t perfectly in focus but are certainly an improvement on my last pic of this species. Slightly disgruntled that I didn’t capture this tiny bird’s bright orange crest but there’s always a next time right! As a point of interest this is Ireland’s smallest bird in length....

...whilst the long tailed tit is the smallest in body mass, it just so happens that I also managed a dodgy shot of one of them! 

I am now off to Valentia island and the Skelligs for a week courtesy of my mother (thanks!) so no more posts for a while. Let’s hope for loads of auk species, choughs, ravens and some of them wheatear and stonechat fellows. Fingers crossed!


  1. Another brilliant read. Enjoy the Skelligs, and thanks Leon's mum! :D

  2. Oh how I envy you off to Valentia and the Skelligs. Say hello to the guides for me from Mike Grimes.

  3. Unfortunatly timing and rough seas caused me to miss the Skelligs this time Mike but Valentia was more then worthed!


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