waxwing

Outing Report

Co. Louth Coach Outing - 8th February 2015.

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South Dublin members in the Oscar Merne Hide overlooking Lurgangreen, Dundalk Bay. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.

South Dublin Members at Lurgangreen, 8th February 2015 (picture: Stephen McAvoy)

It was a chilly misty morning on the 8th February as a jovial band of twenty three birders set out from Dun Laoghaire ferry terminal at 8:30 am, on a coach, to explore the birding prospects of Co. Louth. The journey, due to some very dense patches of fog, yielded just a few Buzzards and an large number assortment of Corvoids.

On the way to Dundalk we stopped at the Applegreen services area for coffee etc. At this stage the weather was not improving so we lingered over our coffee.


Shelduck, Lapwing and Snipe on the banks of the Castletown River, Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Dundalk Docks, 8th February 2015 (picture: Colum Clarke)

From Castlebellingham we proceeded to Dundalk Docks on the Castletown River where to our delight the mist had cleared and we were able to view the assembled plumage in beautiful sunshine.

This area is always a hotspot for waders and ducks on a rising tide. Notable among the birds on offer were 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff, 322 Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 2 Grey Plover, and 21 Black-tailed Godwits. The only birds of prey were a Buzzard that passed through and a lightning fast Sparrowhawk. Our day list which is always a highlight of the day was off to a great start.


Linnets adorn a Gorse Bush at Lurgangreen. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Linnets, Lurgangreen, 8th February 2015 (picture: Colum Clarke)

After a pleasant hour at Dundalk we carried on to Lurgangreen on the southern shore of Dundalk Bay where we spotted some Greylag Geese feeding in a nearby field. The first thing to catch our eyes on the laneway down to the Oscar Merne Memorial Hide was a flock of Tree Sparrows and Linnets and further along four Yellowhammers were a blaze of gold on top of some fir trees, quite beautiful in the sunshine.


Collared Dove keeping an eye on things at the Coachman's Inn. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Collared Dove, The Coachman's Inn, Old Dublin Road, 8th February 2015 (picture: Colum Clarke)

From the hide the highlights were a single male Goosander, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Pintail, a Red-breasted Merganser and a large flock of Golden Plover which performed a murmuration to the enchantment of the assembled group.

Next stop was The Coachman's Inn just down the road for our lunch break and more coffee. Beside this establishment is a model farm. We were amused by the antics of a pair of ornamental pigs that we in amorous mood as well as a Peacock displaying its finery but did not add this to the day list! However we were able to add Blackcap, Meadow Pipit and Stock Dove.


The view from the hide overlooking Lurgangreen with the Cooley Peninsula in the distance. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.

Lurgangreen and Dundalk Bay (picture: Stephen McAvoy)

We then headed towards Clogher Head and its harbour at Port Oriel. On the way we spotted a flock of Fieldfare and several more Buzzards. The days count for these birds was mounting fast.

We stopped at Port Oriel where there was a Great Crested Grebe, a Red-throated Diver giving lovely views, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull and several Grey Seals all in the harbour. We unfortunately drew a blank on the Iceland Gull which had been seen in this location earlier. Gannets were spotted far out to sea by a beady-eyed observer and Rock Pipit and Turnstone were seen nearby.


Black Guillemot flying past Port Oriel. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Black Guillemot, Port Oriel, 8th February 2015 (picture: Colum Clarke)

Our final stop for the day, before wending our way home, was Clogher Head where there was a large flock of Common Scoter out to sea as well as Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Oystercatcher along the beach. After returning to the coach a very happy bunch of birders headed back to Dun Laoghaire.

It really was a terrific day and while Dublin birders were squinting through the mist, we were bathed in beautiful winter sunshine in Co. Louth. I have only mentioned the highlights of the day and while there were no mega rarities, our list for the day was a whopping 81 birds.


Some More Pictures

Dundalk

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Male Teal at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Some more pictures taken on the outing at Dundalk by Colum Clarke and Stephen McAvoy.
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Oystercatcher in flight at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Black-tailed Godwit taking flight at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Black-tailed Godwit at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Mud glorious mud! Black-tailed Godwit cooling his blood at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.
More mud! Female Teal stirring it up this time. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
Lapwing and colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit at Dundalk. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
Curlew and Lapwing at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Snipe among the seaweed at Dundalk. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
Mostly Lapwing along the water's edge at Dundalk. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Lapwings now joined by some Cormorants drying their feathers. Picture by Colum Clarke.
South Dublin members and a very large non-tickable crane at Dundalk Docks. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.

Lurgangreen

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Yellowhammer at Lurgangreen. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.

Some more pictures taken on the outing at Lurgangreen by Colum Clarke and Stephen McAvoy.
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Yellowhammer still there, not going anywhere yet! Picture by Colum Clarke.
Tree Sparrow in a tree, where else? Picture by Colum Clarke.
Redshank heading left over Lurgangreen... Picture by Colum Clarke.
...followed by a Curlew. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Greylag Geese in the mist at Lurgangreen. Picture by Colum Clarke.
More Geese at Lurgangreen, this time Brent Geese coming in to land. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Oystercatchers on a spit at Lurgangreen. Picture by Colum Clarke.
The path to the Oscar Merne Hide that overlooks Lurgangreen and commemorates a very great ornithologist. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.

Port Oriel / Clogher Head

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Red-throated Diver off-shore from Port Oriel. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Some more pictures taken on the outing at Port Oriel and Clogher Head by Colum Clarke and Stephen McAvoy.
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Great Black-backed Gull a swimming in Port Oriel harbour. Picture by Colum Clarke.
Turnstone on a very big stone at Port Oriel. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
Rock Pipit at Port Oriel. Picture by Colum Clarke.
A rather disheveled looking Pied Wagtail at Port Oriel. Picture by Colum Clarke.
South Dublin members at Port Oriel. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
Some of the fishing fleet tied up in Port Oriel harbour. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
A couple of Rooks on Clogher Head beach. Picture by Colum Clarke.
A Starling against the blue sky at Clogher Head. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
South Dublin members on the dunes at Clogher Head beach. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.
Is this the beginning or the end? The big bus at the Ferry Terminal in Dun Laoghaire with 'The George' in the distance. Picture by Stephen McAvoy.

Thanks to Niall Hatch and Stephen McAvoy for their invaluable knowledge, Eleanor Keane for her admirable organisational abilities, Colum Clarke and Stephen for their wonderful photographic skills which accompany this report, and all attendees who made it a memorable day out.


Rachel Hynes


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