Bohernabreena and Glenasmole - 7th May 2017.
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South Dublin Members line up at Bohernabreena, 7th May 2017 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)
The Branch certainly picked a great day for the May outing. Early sunshine and cloudless skies brought out 35 plus enthusiastic birders for a visit to Bohernabreena Waterworks and Glenasmole Valley.
At the outset, careful note was taken of the fine rookery scattered through the trees at the reservoir entrance. Noisy corvids may not rank highly in people’s estimation, but protection and conservation of their nesting and roosting areas deserve attention. And we did have songbirds! The lively notes of the Blackcap accompanied us at all times, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers sang continuously from tree and shrub, while Blackbirds and Song Thrushes seemed to be in outright competition to dominate the sound waves; all in the Valley of the Thrush – Gleann a’ Smoil.
Blackbird at Bohernabreena, 7th May (picture: Nitin Shenoy)
As we approached the great dam retaining the lower lake, some Sika Deer (descendants of escapees from Powerscourt Demesne) were spotted at the fringe of the woods. At the lake itself, Sand Martins skimmed the surface, while a Dipper was spotted feeding at an outlet below the dam. High above a Buzzard soared in the blue, our first raptor of the day, and Goldcrests called from nearby conifers.
A Grey Heron moved out of sight at the end of the lake while a Mallard led her line of ducklings towards the far shore. Of interest to those unfamiliar with the reservoir was the fact that the upper lake retains drinking water, while the lower lake holds acidic water from the uplands around Kippure mountain. Originally, in 1880, the scheme was devised to provide the new town of Rathmines and Rathgar with clean water, while ensuring the continuance of a measured supply of untreated water in the river Dodder to enable over forty mill owners pursue their enterprises without interruption.
Mallard and chicks, Bohernabreena Waterworks, 7th May 2017 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)
Meanwhile the sun shone brilliantly, with many butterflies searching out their favourite flowers. Among the species noted were, Common Blue, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Small White, Green-Veined White and Large White.
An occasional Long-tailed Tit was spotted, Bullfinches made their piping calls, many a Blue Tit and Wren moved through the trees and a Pheasant called from the undergrowth. On the upper lake, Swallows and House Martins were fly-catching and a pair of Grey Wagtails was busy feeding nestlings in one of the many outlet pipes. Towards the end of the upper lake a little Grebe repeated its call.
Grey Wagtail, Bohernabreena, 7th May 2017 (picture: Nitin Shenoy)
One of the main aims of our outing was to hear the Cuckoo. As it happened, our slow progress through the beautiful surroundings of the reservoir meant that only a brief call of the target bird was heard by some members of the group. As we walked along the south bank of the upper lake, a returning birder and some walkers described listening to the Cuckoo further along the lake (a photograph of the perched bird was later displayed on the irishbirding website and can be seen by clicking here). However, quite a number of our group will probably make a further visit to the area to track down the elusive Cuckoo.
Some More Pictures
Meanwhile we checked out some dead Larches bearing the unmistakable holes made by a Great Spotted Woodpecker, which has been seen and heard along the upper lake. It had been drumming away earlier on Sunday morning.