Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gullty pleasures

I had a day in Ballycotton recently chasing reports of glaucous gulls. As some people know the glaucous gull, whilst not all that rare in winter is a bird I have been chasing for over a year. In fact 9 trips last winter and this year failed spectacularly. I was delighted to finally see one this time flying over the pier. Unfortunately he didn’t stick around and pretty much immediately turned towards Shanagarry. The sun was my saving grace as it allowed for some distant and not altogether failed shots of this bird in the 20 seconds it took to fly over me. On the off chance this is somehow an Iceland gull, I should mention that it was massive and heavily built.

More of a success was the large amount of kittiwakes circling the pier, seemingly more able to navigate the high winds then the Larus gulls. There where about thirty I think.
It unsettles me when gulls do this flexing thing
My fave kittiwake shot of the day
A youngin
A lot of pied wagtails around on the pier too, allowing for some nice eye level shots, still waiting for a grey wagtail at eye level.
Cork's most social wagtail, Ballycotton wall

The Shanagarry area didn’t offer up any close up opportunities, although both species of godwit, ringed plovers, greenshank, redshank, sanderling, brent goose, teal, wigeon and dunlin where present a plenty. Also spotted an iceland and a glaucous (likely the same bird) amongst the large groups of lesser black back and herring flocks.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Yup it’s that time of year that pochards have arrived at the Lough and in impressive numbers too. Usually 2 or 3 show up most days in winter, but this week there where at least ten birds present (only one female!?). There isn’t much to say, it’s hardly my first pochard post, and I’m sure it won’t be my last! Needless to say I have enjoyed spending time with these ducks. I consider it a great treat to meet a diving duck that’s approachable (unlike certain other Aythya ducks).

It’s crazy how the head colour changes with the light. I think its safe to say that I’ve taken enough pochard pics at this point to keep me going.