Outing Report

Donabate and the Broadmeadow, Co. Dublin - 11th March 2012.

The group met at Newbridge House at 10:30 am, on what was a dry bright Sunday morning. It didn't take long to spot our first birds of the day, as the car park was overlooked by some tall trees, which were home to a rookery.

From the car park at Newbridge we made our way in convoy towards Rogerstown Estuary. Once parked, we walked the short distance down to Raheen Point, on the South side of the estuary. On the way we spotted, on the path ahead, a couple of Blackbirds hopping about, and three Robins, sporting particularly intense red bibs; while, above us, at treetop level, there were Goldfinch flying back and forth.

Down at the Point there was plenty of activity on the water. Looking North East, towards the railway bridge and the Inner Estuary, we observed good numbers of Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit and a small number of Oystercatchers. Brent Geese, Teal and Shelduck were also present. Aileen was lucky enough to spot a Little Grebe moving about under the arches of the railway bridge but, it didn't remain in sight for long. Also seen were a couple of Curlew, Dunlin, and a single Grey Plover. From the Point we also got views of Black-headed Gulls, and a single Great Black-backed Gull. In the distance, on the North side of the estuary, Stephen spotted a Buzzard circling high in the sky above the fields.

Some of the group took up viewing positions round the Point. Looking towards the Outer Estuary they were rewarded with excellent views of Red-breasted Merganser. A group of three males and two females could be clearly seen out on the water; far closer than those spotted off Dun Laoghaire harbour, on our last outing, which were never much more than dots in the distance. At the far end of the Outer Estuary could be seen further groups of Brent Geese, and Shelduck.

Walking back along the lane towards the cars, Goldfinch were again seen. This time they proved more obliging, a group of five perched on a tree to the left side of the lane and remained there for a good ten minutes giving good views of these colourful little birds. At one stage a small flock of Linnets passed overhead. On the opposite side of the lane we managed to catch sight of a Reed Bunting in among the greenery thanks to Stephen, while Wren and Dunnock were heard; but, no one was able to spot either.

A few of us decided to travel on to Broadmeadow Estuary, where large numbers of Mute Swan and Mallard gave excellent close up views. Moorhen, Heron, Brent Geese and three more Great Black-backed Gulls were also spotted. We met a fellow birder from BirdWatch Ireland's Fingal branch who told us that he had seen an Iceland Gull in the area. Moments later, we managed to pick out a lone first-winter Iceland Gull in the channels of the estuary; a nice treat for those of us lucky enough to have opted to go on to Broadmeadow.

Jon Field

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