Outing Report

Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow - 9th October 2016.

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South Dublin members assemble in the train station car park at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

South Dublin Members at Kilcoole, 9th October 2016 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

The South Dublin BirdWatch Ireland Branch outing to Kilcoole is always a very popular event and this Sunday was no exception with 25 people in attendance including one of our very keen younger members. It is always good to see the next generation getting involved. On this occasion the outing was held in conjunction with the Wicklow Branch. We met up in the Kilcoole train station car park where the sun was shining and there was hardly a breath of wind. It was such a lovely day it was hard to believe that Autumn is here. The car park is a good spot for small passerines. Here we found Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Robin and Starling.

Two Red-throated Divers off Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Red-throated Divers, off Kilcoole, 9th October 2016 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

From here we proceeded across the railway line and headed south along the coast. On the way we saw some Cormorant out to sea and inland we had Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Meadow Pipit and a lovely Skylark sitting on a post giving spectacular views. After that some Red-throated Divers were spotted out to sea, ten or more altogether. These lovely birds were still sporting their grey and white summer plumage with their red throats gleaming in the sunlight. They can be distinguished from other divers at a distance by their slightly up-tilted bills which, they tend to hold pointing slightly upward but we were lucky enough to have two fishing close in to shore. This species spends the summer in the Arctic where it breeds and then heads south for the winter. Kilcoole is one of the most reliable spots to find them during the winter.

Northern Wheatear passing through Kilcoole on its journey south. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Northern Wheatear, Kilcoole, 9th October 2016 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

There were also Razorbill and Guillemot as well as a very curious seal, which had a good look at us. I think the fish must have been close in as all these birds were relatively near to shore. We also had great views of a Northern Wheatear moving around the beach showing off its white rump. By this time we had reached the various pools on the landward side, which right now are beginning to attract the regular winter visitors. Already some Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, and Curlew have arrived back from their breeding grounds. As the autumn progresses these will be augmented by Greylag and Brent Geese as well as Whooper Swan and a few hoped for rarities.

Black-headed, Common & Mediterranean Gulls. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some of the gull species present at Kilcoole, 9th October 2016 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

As we progressed past the Buckthorn towards the Breaches we saw various gulls including numerous Black-headed, two Common, two Mediterranean, Herring and Great Black-backed. There were also some Redshank and a sole Greenshank. We were also treated to a flyover of Redwing which are beginning to arrive for their winter feast of berries that appear to be in abundance at present. There was a notable absence or raptors and small waders such as Dunlin and Ringed Plover on this occasion which is unusual for Kilcoole but we can look forward to seeing them on another day.

Some More Pictures

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Male Teal at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures taken on the day by Gustavo Zoladz.
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Stonechat taking in the view at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Lapwings and gulls at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Many thanks to Eleanor Keane and Frank Doyle for ably leading this most enjoyable outing.

Rachel Hynes

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