Outing Report

Cabinteely Park , Co. Dublin - 8th January 2012.

It was a fine clear morning and provided one stayed near the trees the strong breeze did not bother us. There were 13 people who had never been on an outing, and these included some members of Cabinteely Active Retired Group. Altogether there were about 50 of us all anxious to see what species we could see. Niall gave a small introduction and we walked towards the trees at the side of the house. A Robin could be heard singing though he did not show himself and then a Treecreeper appeared, a busy little bird that climbs up the bark poking in crevices for grubs and insects and can be quite difficult to spot as he blends so well with his environs. We stood for a while trying to get a good view but he was having none of it and as soon as he was spotted he went round the back of the tree. There were at least 2 of them. This park is a reliable place to spot them provided you can wait around.

In the top of the branches a small flock of Long-tailed Tits flittered around: not easy to see the colour but the long tail was a giveaway! The group ambled down the pathway towards the feeders and what a pleasure they gave us; hopping mad with finches of all descriptions in a frenzy to get at the seed and nuts. Great views of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, and also Great Tit, Blue Tit and Coal Tit.

Then siskins were seen. These birds do not usually come to gardens until late January and February. They are a dweller in pine forests but come down to feeders when food is getting in short supply. (We were all a bit spoilt last year with the snow as many birds availed of the food in our gardens as they could not dig into the ground so many unusual species appeared).

Further down at the new small pond beside the bridge a Little Egret stood on the grass for us all to get a good look. Flocks of Black-headed Gulls were on either side of the pond and Mallard and Moorhen swam around. On the way back up to where we started out, Redwing were seen in the trees. Obligingly they flew to the ground and mingled with some Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds and we were fortunate to see Song Thrush as well in the same area. Great chance for us all to compare size and stance and colouring of these 4 thrushes.

Just as we prepared to part someone asked what was the red chested and black bird rooting around the leaves on the ground; a pair of bullfinch gave us good sightings and sent us home happily.

Aileen Prole

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