Saturday, May 28, 2011

Early Seawatch

During the week of 24th to 26th May, severe North West winds blew over the Irish coastlines bringing with them a fair scattering of early seabirds and North American waders.  Paul Troake and Geoff Pearson ended up doing a bit of seawtching off the Bridges of Ross and were rewarded with the following;

Sabine's Gull 4
Leach's Storm Petrel 1
Storm Petrel 9
Pomarine Skua 1
Arctic Skua 2
Bonxie 3
Manx Shearwater 5,000 plus off the head.
Bonxie 3 off the head.

Lesser Yellowlegs

On Saturday 21st May 2011, I received a text from Pearse Ryan, saying he had an unusual wader in the pond at Kilbaha.  First impressions, he thought it might have been a Wood Sandpiper or Ruff.  I phoned Pearse asking him to describe the bird as Wood Sandpiper is a very rare Spring migrant in Clare, and considering the weather patterns that we had on the lead up to this week, it could possibly be a North American vagrant.  Pearse mentioned that the bird was very tame and described the bird to me on the phone. From his description, especially when he mentioned the bright yellow legs, I suggested that it may be a Lesser Legs.  At the time PR did not have a camera with him so he returned home, went back to the scene of the crime later in the evening, and got the pictures below.  He also sent me on some video and it was clear that the bird was indeed a Lesser Yellowlegs.  This is only the 4th Clare record of this wader, all others have turned up in autumn.  Congratulations Pearse, Great find.

John N Murphy

Lesser Yellowlegs in Kilbaha Pond © Pearse Ryan.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Iceland Gull

I was back at the Loop again today.  Things were still very quiet with one Grasshopper Warbler up the headland, no sign of the Turtle Dove, the second-year Iceland Gull below flew into the harbour at about 15.00 and landed on the rocks just over the harbour wall and stayed resting for a short while.  Other birds of note on the headland were two House Martins, one Wheatear, two Chough, 14 Rock Doves and about five Sedge Warblers.  At the Bridges of Ross there were at least 2,000 Manx Shearwaters and one Puffin, all flying south west against the wind.

Other bits of interest were; two Wall Brown Butterflies, one Speckled Wood, one Common Seal and two Hares.

John N Murphy, 16th May 2011

Iceland Gull resting in Kilbaha Harbour © John N Murphy
Iceland Gull on rocks in Kilbaha © John N Murphy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Species List

To date there have been 248 species of birds recorded at Loop Head since the early 1900's, the majority of which have been found since the early 1980's.
Ring Ouzel © John N Murphy

1.              Red-throated Diver Gavia Stellata
2.              Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica
3.              Great-northern Diver Gavia immer
4.              Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiseps
5.              Little Grebe Tachybaptus rufficollis
6.              Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
7.              Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegna
8.              Black-browed Albatross  Diomedea melanophris
9.              Fulmar  Fulmaris glacialis
10.            Cory’s Shearwater Calonectis diomeda
11.            Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
12.            Fea’s Petrel Pterodroma feae
13.            Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
14.            Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
15.            Balearic Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan
16.            Little Shearwater   Puffinus assimilis
17.            Wilson’s Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus
18.            European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
19.            Leach’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
20.            Swinhoe’s Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis
21.            Gannet Morus bassanus
22.            Cormorant   Phalacrocorax carbo
23.            Shag  Phalacrocorax aristotelis
24.            Little Egret Egretta garzetta
25.            Grey Heron   Ardea cinere
26.            Mute Swan   Cygnus olor
27.            Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
28.            Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
29.            Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
30.            Greylag Goose Anser anser                       
31.            Canada Goose   Branta canadensis
32.            Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
33.            Brent Goose Branta bernicla
34.            Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
35.            Wigeon   Anas penelope
36.            Gadwall Anas platyrhynchos
37.            Teal Anas crecca
38.            Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis
39.            Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
40.            Pintail   Anas acuta
41.            Shoveler Anas clypeata
42.            Pochard Aytha femi
43.            Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
44.            Scaup Aythya marila
45.            Common Eider Somateria mollissima
46.            Long-tailed Duck   Clangula hyemalis
47.            Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
48.            Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca
49.            Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
50.            Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrato
51.            Red Kite   Milvus milvus
52.            White-tailed Eagle   Haliaeetus albicilla
53.            Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
54.            Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
55.            Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
56.            Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
57.            Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
58.            Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
59.            Merlin Falco columbarius
60.            Hobby  Falco subbuteo
61.            Peregrine Falco peregrines
62.            Red Grouse Lapogus lapogus
63.            Pheasant   Phasianus colchicus
64.            Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
65.            Spotted Crake   Porzana parva
66.            Corncrake   Crex crex
67.            Moorhen   Gallinula chloropus
68.            Coot   Fulica atra
69.            Oystercatcher   Haematopus ostralegus
70.            Black-winged Stilt   Himantopus himantopus
71.            Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
72.            Dotterel   Charadrius morinellus
73.           American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica
74.           Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
75.           Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
76.           Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
77.           Knot Calidris canutus
78.           Sanderling Calidris alba
79.           Little Stint Calidris minuta
80.           Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotus
81.           Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
82.           Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritime
83.           Dunlin Calidris alpine
84.           Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis
85.           Ruff Philomachus pugnax
86.           Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
87.           Snipe   Gallinago gallinago
88.           Long-billed Dowitcher   Limnodromnus scolopaceus
89.           Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
90.           Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
91.           Bar-tailed Godwit   Limosa lapponica
92.           Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
93.           Curlew Numenius arquata
94.           Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda
95.           Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
96.           Redshank Tringa totanus
97.           Greenshank Tringa nebularia
98.           Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
99.           Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
100.         Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
101.         Turnstone Arenaris interpres
102.         Wilson’s Phalarope   Phalaropus tricolor
103.         Red-necked Phalarope   Phalaropus fulicarius
104.         Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
105.         Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarius
106.         Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
107.         Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
108.         Great Skua Stercorarius skua
109.         Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalu
110.         Little Gull Larus minutes
111.         Sabine’s Gull  Larus sabini
112.         Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
113.         Ring-billed Gull Larus delewarensis
114.         Common Gull   Larus canus
115.         Lesser Black-backed Gull   Larus fuscus
116.         Herring Gull Larus argentatus
117.         American Herring Gull  Larus argentatus smithsonianus
118.         Yellow-legged Herring Gull   Larus argentatus michahellis
119.         Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides
120.         Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
121.         Great Black-backed Gull   Larus marinus
122.         Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
123.         Gull-billed Tern   Sterna nilotica
124.         Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
125.         Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus
126.         Roseate Tern Sterna dougalli
127.         Common Tern   Sterna hirundo
128.         Arctic Tern Sterna paradisae
129.         Little Tern Sterna albifrons
130.         Black Tern   Chlidonias niger
131.         White-winged Black Tern   Chlidonias leucopterus
132.         Guillemot Uria aalge
133.         Razorbill Alca torda
134.         Black Guillemot Cepphus grille
135.         Little Auk Alle alle
136.         Puffin Fratercula arctica
137.         Rock Dove Columbia livia
138.         Stock Dove Columba oenas
139.         Woodpigeon Columbia palumbus
140.         Collared Dove   Streptopelia decaocto
141.         Turtle Dove Streptropelia turtur
142.         Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
143.         Barn Owl Tyto alba
144.         Short-eared Owl Asio flammaeus
145.         Swift Apus apus
146.         Kingfisher Acedo atthis
147.         Wryneck   Jynx torquilla
148.         Short-toed Lark   Calandrella brachydactyla
149.         Skylark Alauda arvensis
150.         Sand Martin Riparia riparia
151.         Swallow Hirundo rustica
152.         Red-rumped Swallow   Hirundo daurica
153.         House Martin Delichon urbica
154.         Richard’s Pipit   Anthus novaeseelandiae
155.         Blyth’s Pipit Anthus godlewskii
156.         Tree Pipit   Anthus trivialis
157.         Meadow Pipit Anthus pratenis
158.         Red-throated Pipit   Anthus cervinus
159.         Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
160.         Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
161.         Yellow Wagtail   Motacilla flavaa
162.         Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinera
163.         Pied/White Wagtail Moticilla alba alba
164.         Waxwing   Bombycilla garrulus
165.         Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
166.         Dunnock Prunella modularis
167.         Robin Emithacus rubecula
168.         Nightingale   Luscinia megarhynchos
169.         Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochuros
170.         Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
171.         Whinchat   Saxicola ruberta
172.         Stonechat Saxicola torquata
173.         Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
174.         Pied Wheatear   Oenanthe pleschanka
175.         Rock Thrush   Monticola saxatilis
176.         Siberian Thrush   Zoothera sibirica
177.         Grey-checked Thrush   Catharus minimus
178.         Ring Ouzel   Turdus torquatus
179.         Blackbird Turdus merula
180.         Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
181.         Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
182.         Redwing Turdus iliacus
183.         Mistle Thrush Turdus visivorus
184.         Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
185.         Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
186.         Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola
187.         Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
188.         Icterine Warbler   Hippolais icterina
189.         Melodious Warbler   Hippolais polyglotta
190.         Barred Warbler   Sylvia nisoria
191.         Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
192.         Whitethroat Sylvia communis
193.         Garden Warbler   Sylvia borin
194.         Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
195.         Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
196.         Pallas’s Warbler Phylloscopus propegulus
197.         Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
198.         Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
299.         Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
200.         Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
201.         Goldcrest Regulus regulus
202.         Firecrest   Regulus ignicapillus
203.         Spotted Flycatcher Muscicpa striata
204.         Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
205.         Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
206.         Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos candatus
207.         Coal Tit Parus ater
208.         Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
209.         Great Tit Parus major
210.         Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
211.         Magpie Pica pica
212.         Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
213.         Jackdaw Corvus monedula / Nordic Jackdaw Corvus m. soemmerringii
214.         Rook Corvus frugilegus
215.         Hooded Crow/Carrion Crow  Corvus cornix/corone
216.         Raven Corvus corax
217.         Starling Sturnus vulgaris
218.         House Sparrow Passer domesticus
219.         Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
220.         Philadelphia Vireo   Vireo philadelphicus
221.         Red-eyed Vireo    Vireo olivaceus
222.         Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
223.         Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
224.         Serin   Serinus serinus
225.         Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
226.         Goldfinch Cardeulis chloris
227.         Siskin Carduelis spinus
228.         Linnet Cardeulis caunabina
229.         Twite Carduelis flavirostris
230.         Redpoll Cardeulis flammea
231.         Common Crossbill Laxia curvirostra
232.         Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
233.         Bullfinch   Pyrrhula pyrrhula
234.         Yellow Warbler   Dendroica petechia
235.         Yellow-rumped Warbler   Dendroica coronata
236.         Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
237.         Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis
238.         Dark-eyed Junco   Junco hyemalis
239.         Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus
240.         Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
241.         Yellowhammer Emberiza citronella
242.         Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
243.         Rustic Bunting   Emberiza rustica
244.         Little Bunting   Emberiza pusilla
245.         Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniculus
246.         Black-headed Bunting   Emberiza melanocephala
247.         Rose-breasted Grosbeak   Pheucticus ludoviciannus
248.         Lesser Yellowlegs   Tringa flavipes
249.         Blue-winged Teal Anas crecca

Sabine's Gull © John N Murphy

Turtle Dove

The first Turtle Dove of the year arrived near Gibsons Garden this morning Saturday 14th May.  This is only the second spring record of this species at Loop.  Also at Loop today were one Whitethroat, one Willow Warbler, 15 Sedge Warblers, ten Collared Doves, 32 Rock Doves, ten Sand Martins, four Chough, one Raven, 2,500 Manx Shearwaters off the Bridges of Ross, two Puffins there also with four Whimbrel.  Other species of note were large numbers of Gannets off the tip of the headland where within a feeding flock of 800 Kittiwakes.

Unfortunately there was more habitat destruction over the past few weeks on the headland with the loss of Willows at the bottom of Sides Garden near the drain at the pool in the harbour.  Also along the track where the Heligoland Track was built in 1987, this track was completely cleared out with a hymac machine and the old frame of the trap wiped out as well.

John N Murphy, 14th May 2011

 Turtle Dove near Gibson's Garden Kilbaha © John N Murphy
 Sedge Warbler near Crotty's, the last house before the light © John N Murphy
 Two Common Seal were out basking on rocks in the harbour, just in front of the Lighthouse Inn  © John N Murphy
 There were two Small Copper Butterflies on a track in the middle of the headland © John N Murphy
 A count of 42 Wall Brown Butterflies was made today © John N Murphy
 Over 37 seperate clusters of The Lackey moth caterpillars were seen on the headland © John N Murphy
 The Lackey baby, junior and senior caterpillars at Loop © John N Murphy
Marsh Orchid in the open ground near the Lighthouse © John N Murphy

Today 11th May 2011, this wrecked, wet Willow Warbler was picked up in the Lighthouse compound by Dave McNamara.  It was the only migrant seen at Loop Head today.

A wet Willow Warbler at Loop Head Lighthouse © Dave McNamara