Outing Report

Booterstown Marsh & Sandymount - 12th October 2014.

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Black-tailed Godwit on a calm Booterstown Marsh. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Black-tailed Godwit on Booterstown Marsh (picture: Colum Clarke)

Any day one can go out birdwatching in mid-October in short sleeves and be caressed by a balmy breeze and glorious sunshine is rather special, and so it was today during our October outing to Booterstown and Sandymount. We had a great turnout of 26 including four keen young birdwatchers, two boys and two girls.

The outing was organised in conjunction with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. We were led by Niall Hatch who provided lots of information and helpful ID hints to all those in attendance.

Booterstown parade of sail. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Mute Swans and Teal on Booterstown Marsh, 12th October 2014 (picture: Colum Clarke)

Getting tides right for this outing is critical and so we were blessed to arrive just as the marsh water level was rising slowly. There we had great views of a large flock of Black-tailed Godwit most resting on one leg. As expected a large number of Redshank were present as well as seven Greenshank that were proving elusive as the mingled in the midst of the Godwit.

At the very beginning of the morning we had a great sunlit view of two Snipe on one of the artificial islands and two at the edge of the marsh. Some Teal were present, and also Moorhen. A pair of Mute Swan with six cygnets regally cruised the extent of water, bringing to mind a parade of sail; they were much admired. A lucky few of us managed to get that much longed for sight, a flash of cobalt blue-green and bright orange, as a Kingfisher flew along one of the channels close to the DART line.

A little Egret gave a close up demonstration of its fishing technique, using its 'toes' as bait, which was proving quite successful on the day. There were up to ten present in the area as well as five Grey Heron in contemplative pose.

Fishing for a living, a Little Egret on Booterstown Marsh. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Little Egret, Booterstown Marsh, 12th October 2014 (picture: Colum Clarke)

On moving over to the sea side of the DART line the tide was rushing in as it does at Sandymount, bringing all the waders closer to us. Among the stars were Bar-tailed Godwit, in close association with Black-tailed Godwit, so a compare and contrast 'lesson' was made relatively easy as was the comparison of Godwit and Curlew.

A shimmering, quicksilver like flock of Sanderling were constantly relocating themselves and getting closer all the time causing much delight. Most of us had our first of the season sight of recently arrived Brent Geese. Picked up by telescopes in the far distance was a large gathering of Great Crested Grebe with some Black Guillemot in their midst.

Sanderling and a lone Common Gull on Sandymount Strand. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Sanderling on Sandymount Strand, 14th October 2014 (picture: Colum Clarke)

A couple of hundred Oystercatchers were gathered quite a distance away like a huge black and white carpet, as they waited for the water to lap legs before they flew off to roost elsewhere. A flock of Ringed Plovers flew away to their regular roost on the sea side of the West Pier of Dun Laoighaire.

Some More Pictures

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One for sorrow, a Magpie at Booterstown. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Some more pictures taken at Booterstown and Sandymount by Colum Clarke.
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Grey Wagtail and autumn leaves. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Redshank on the marsh. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Little Egret, a study in black and white. Picture by Colum Clarke.
A Grey Heron in contemplative pose. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Lots of shanks, mostly green. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Greenshank, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits take flight over Booterstown Marsh. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Brent Geese over sand...... Picture by Colum Clarke.
..over water...... Picture by Colum Clarke.
..and finally coming to rest on Dublin Bay. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Unusually not a single bird of prey did a flyover, nor thankfully, was there much disturbance caused by romping dogs. It was also a poor day for passerines. The traffic noise along the southern side of the marsh makes it almost impossible to pick up bird calls or song, so nothing of great note seen or heard. The total species count for the morning came to 26.

Eleanor Keane

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