Outing Report

Killiney Hill, Co. Dublin - 15th May 2016.

National Dawn Chorus Day

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The dawn chorus patrol on Killiney Hill. Picture by Bill Rea.

South Dublin Members on Killiney Hill, 15th May 2016. (picture: Bill Rea)

Early on the 15th May, National Dawn Chorus Day, a group of 43 gathered in the Burmah Road car park of Killiney Hill on a beautiful, dry and cool but still morning. Branch Chairman Frank Doyle led the group with his usual panache and depth of knowledge. The participants proved very enthusiastic and eager to soak up the gems of information as well as the bird song. A perfect morning for bird song.

They duly obliged, beginning as usual with the always first Blackbird. Shortly after, two Song Thrush and a Robin joined in. It was such a bright morning it was not long before Rook, Jackdaw and Hooded Crow made their presence heard. We moved into a more densely wooded and shrubby area in the hope of hearing a greater variety of song and so allow everyone the opportunity to experience and learn the differences. A Goldcrest was singing loudly for that species and a Blackcap soon burst into a rapid fire burst of song and although it was very close it refused to show itself. At the halfway stage some of the group saw a Fox returning to the hill from his night out in suburbia.

The earliest of early birds, a Blackbird begins the dawn chorus. Picture by Bill Rea.

Blackbird, Killiney Hill, 15th May 2016 (picture: Bill Rea)

Those who made it first to the corner overlooking the Vico Road and Killiney Bay witnessed a wonderful red sunrise. We lingered there a little and had good views of Dunnock in song. Blackbird, Robin and Wrens were in plain view and entertained us as we enjoyed the sight of the sun rising through the layers of cloud. That was in itself a reward for our early start.

We made our way back to the car park past the Obelisk bearing the inscription 'Last year being hard with the poor, walks about these hills and this were erected by John Mapas, June 1742'. Glad to say that times are not as harsh as those referred to in the inscription. On the return trip we heard Chiffchaff, as well and hearing and seeing Blue, Great, and Long-tailed Tit, Chafffinch and Woodpigeon. By six am we had had a great variety of really good bird song but hunger was now more pressing upon us and a hearty breakfast was called for. So we departed Killiney Hill with the realisation that we would surely benefit from getting out of our beds earlier more often, to enjoy the wonders of nature.

Eleanor Keane

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