Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kayleigh's Sanctuary for Exotic Pets

Something different today only. Introducing my girlfriend’s impressive array of rescued animals! She runs a Sanctuary for exotic pets that have been rescued or are otherwise in need of temporary care. Here’s the link, worth a look!

Anyway, here are some of the current creatures.

Western hognose snake
This is one of the live in pets, Minilot, a lovely snake indeed, quite pleasant to handle. 

Albino Honduran milksnake
The other live in snake
Cunningham's Skink
These are the two live in pet skinks, not too friendly but quite a lot of fun to watch going about their day.

Map turtle
This is a North American terrapin species. She has recently been rehomed.

Yellow bellied slider terrapin
One of the terrapins living in the sanctuary. These guys by the way make for terrible pets, usually folks buy them when they are tiny and aren’t told how big they grow (upto 13 inches). As a direct consequence thousands of these poor creatures are released into Ireland’s lakes and rivers where they struggle to survive. 

Bearded dragon
The latest bearded dragon to arrive in the sanctuary, this one is suffering from metabolic bone disease which causes some of its bones to develop incorrectly. 

Carolina corn snake
This is one of the latest visitors, a corn snake that enjoys scowling at people.

Leopard gecko
This Gecko, called Anubis can be quite entertaining chasing its prey, nice little creature!
Click to check out the sanctuary on Facebook.

Your garden variety birds

We put up a bird feeder in the garden, set up so I can point and shoot through the window of the kitchen for rainy or study filled days. The lack of nearby cover seems to be discouraging some birds but I’m getting sporadic groups of blue tit / chaffinch. So far I have blue tit, great tit, greenfinch, chaffinch, blackbird, jackdaw, magpie, rook, collared dove, woodpigeon  & song trush. Not too shabby!

I’ll be keeping tab of what shows up anywhere in the garden, in this page here, which can also be found to the right under sub pages (over there -> )

Here’s some past shots I have gotten of these individuals.
Collared dove
Blue tit
Great tit
Song trush


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rochestown birding

Decided to scout the area near my girlfriend’s house last week, that being the Douglas estuary/Rochestown region. As it turns out there’s some nice pathways in and around this bay. First things first, if you know anything about birds you can probably see the humour in this local birdlife sign. You’d think the identical grebe species would tip them off for starters. 

Seems like the energy I expended on chasing red admiral butterflies at the start of their flying season may have been a little unnecessary. They are currently everywhere it seems. 

The usual mudflat birds where present, such as these black tailed godwits. I have grown quite fond of these waders since they are far less shy then other bay birds like wigeons and curlews.

Also spotted this rather nice pipit, meadow pipit I presume!

My catch of the day however was the sighting of purple sandpipers. Yet another first for me, yay. The individual below was hanging out with a group of 20 or so turnstones along the shingle shore.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chats in Ballycotton

Cormorant with an eel, lots of these around.
Seeing the opportunity for a sunny day out I recently took yet another trip down to Ballycotton to try and take a good look at all the sandy bits. What I and my measly camera found mostly consisted of miniature dots sitting on sandbanks. Primarily wigeon shaped ones. Still a very pleasant walk!
So shy that this is probrably my best wigeon shot to date, bleh!

The shoreline by the beach car park had this small cluster of Brent geese. A first for me! Yes I know..., I haven’t been at this as long as most folks.

The hedgerows where full of songbirds though, thousands of house sparrows, dunnocks, large numbers of rook, linnets, goldfinch and many more. The worst moment of my day was coming face to face with 4 yellowhammers sitting in full view less than a meter away. Needless to say they were gone before I could get the stunned expression off my face. Ah well.


Linnet (with oddly light legs)
A young rook

The moment that ultimately made my day was the sight of this very approachable stonechat which gave me some excellent views. It’s not the stunning summer plumage that is most associated with the stonechat but this was definitely the closest I’ve managed to get to one.

It being late October (at the time), few butterflies remained on the cliff walk. In fact the only thing I saw was admirals.

I was surprised to find a dragonfly on the cliffs as well. It is most likely a female red veined darter (see facebook debate) on account of the bluish tint to its wings. A new species for me and likely the last I’m going to see this year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gadwalls, Turnstones & Hawkers

My first Gadwall in Cobh! What a great looking little duck. It’s a relative (same genus) of the common mallard but only visits here as a winter visitor. This one was communing with the local mallards in Cuskinny Marsh.
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks lacking in the time to write blog entries unfortunately, none the less I have had a couple of eventful birding trips out in Kinsale, Douglas estuary, Cobh and inch beach in Co.Kerry. I’m missing the jpegs for most of these trips at the moment but that will change in coming days! The photos I do currently have are from my Cobh trip (over a month ago L)

Also that day in Cobh a group of turnstones (about 30) took refuge during the high tide on one of the piers and gave some rare (if not spectacularly photogenic) views of them sitting on boats and on the nearby pier.

Some shots of the local wildlife, rats count as wildlife too! ;)

Found a lot of these migrant hawkers dragonflies too and a couple of darters (not pictured). Presumably it’s about as late in the year as you’re going to find dragonflies in Ireland!
And some more shots of the Gadwall, not a first time bird for most people I’m sure but definitely an unexpected sight for me!

Next week on Leon’s blog, a purple sandpiper that thinks it’s a turnstone, some dodgy shots of brent geese and my first good shots of a seal!