Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Ireland Day 2

Having stopped the night in Galway we had a couple of hours driving ahead of us at the start of day 2, aiming to reach our next main target bird - American Coot. We arrived on the Mullet peninsula at 11.30 and immediately set about searching the extensive Reed bordered edges of lake Termoncarragh. The initial 2 hours on site were good, recording 4 Whooper Swans, 1 ad Iceland Gull and a Shovellor/Blue-winged Teal hybrid.

Eventually I managed to locate the bird moving through the reeds and after a short wait it came out into full view for all the group to see. Below is a very poor record shot which obviously does this bird little justice. If you enlarge the picture you may see some of the features such as the lack of white in the shield and the dark ring on the greyish bill. The overall colour of this bird is also much lighter than our Coots, similar to the colour difference between Jackdaw and Chough. The white undertail coverts were also noticeable, but mainly when diving under the water.

American Coot

Next stop was Rossaveel in the hope of re-locating the recent Theyer's Gull, no such luck! There was a massive shortage of large Gulls on site, a single Glaucous Gull providing the only excitement. We decided to spend the last bit of daylight at Nimmo's pier and at this site we were not disappointed. I immediately located a smart adult Ring-billed Gull amongst the Common and Black-headed Gulls. Shortly afterwards Dan picked out the Forsters Tern with 5 Sandwich Tern feeding on some nearby rocks. We watched this amazing little bird until it went dark, click on any of the images below to enlarge the picture. We also got very close views of the below Hooded Crow, Turnstone and Great Northern Diver! A superb days birding, lets just hope tomorrow is as good!!

Above 4 Images - Forsters Tern

Great Northern Diver
Hooded Crow

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