Outing Report

Rogerstown Estuary - 11th December 2016.

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South Dublin members on the December outing to Rogerstown Estuary. Picture by Bill Rea.

South Dublin Members at Rogerstown, 11th December 2016 (picture: Bill Rea)

Turvey Parklands and Rodgerstown Estuary is a favourite venue for our branch outings in winter. The estuary and its mudflats host a huge variety of waders, ducks and some geese each winter, which in turn means a variety of raptors are ever present. It is important to get there if possible on an ebbing tide.

The wildness of the habitat on the walk to the hide, about a kilometre from the carpark, provides a great opportunity to catch up with finches, thrushes, and other small birds.

Long-tailed Tit at Turvey Parklands. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Long-tailed Tit, Turvey, 11th December 2016 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

This morning Frank Doyle, Branch Chairman, greeted and led twenty four birding enthusiasts beginning from out meeting point in Turvey Parklands car park along the track that leads to the main hide overlooking part of Rogerstown Estuary. The weather perfect for winter birding, with a blue sky on a wonderfully mild, calm, dry December morning.

The earlier arrivals caught sight of a Sparrowhawk with 'breakfast' and had close views until it moved to more distant trees. A Buzzard was one of the early species seen as we assembled. Some Bullfinch made for a splash of colour as we set off. Just off the main track, a single Redwing showed beautifully in all its winter splendour. We also heard and saw Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbirds and later Fieldfare. That was five of our six regular Turdus species, giving good views. It was a great beginning.

Three sleepy Wigeon grabbing forty winks on Rogerstown Estuary. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Wigeon on Rogerstown Estuary, 11th December (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

We had many Chaffinch calling and moving about but no hoped for Brambling in their midst. Stopping at the first scrape provided us with one Moorhen on the outward walk and a single Coot on the return. The mixture of open fields, woodland and areas planted with seeding wildflowers and cereal crop for birds ensure a variety on the route, including Reed Bunting and Long-tailed Tit. However no sight or sound of Yellowhammer or Tree Sparrow, birds which not so long ago were a regular feature of a trip here.

There is a good view over the inner estuary to be had from the last corner before the main hide. We could see there were large numbers of duck on the water and the surrounding banks, including whistling Widgeon, everyday Mallard, dashing Red-breasted Merganser, sculpted Shelduck and dainty Teal, all showing well in great morning light.

Greenshank on Rogerstown Estuary. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Greenshank, Rogerstown, 11th December 2016 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

A large flock of our overwintering Brent Geese in their smart black and white plumage mingled with the duck. From the hide, which is a great facility even if a bit of a squeeze for a large group, we saw a great variety of waders. Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and a very large flock of Lapwing, interspersed with many Redshank the occasional Greenshank and one lone Ruff in pale winter plumage. A grey Plover showed well, standing still for a considerable time as is their habit.

A Little Grebe and some feeding Dunlin reminded us that size is not everything as they displayed their particular jizz. In due course a call of 'Peregrine flying by' had all on their toes to follow the flight and get a good fix on where it might land. It sat on a large post and proceeded to preen as we admired through the available scopes as it was a fair distance away. Another Buzzard did a lazy flyover and raised the Lapwing flock. It was a thrill to see them fly up with their distinctively large black and white wings flapping, and then resume their position on the mudflats.

Some More Pictures

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Buzzard watches over Rogerstown from its vantage point. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures taken on the day by Bill Rea and Gustavo Zoladz.
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A most distant Peregrine at Rogerstown. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Ruff and two Wigeon at Rogerstown. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Greenshank at the water's edge in Rogerstown. Picture by Bill Rea.
Fieldfare, one of our two winter thrushes. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Redwing, the second of our winter thrushes. Picture by Bill Rea.
Mistle Thrush, an all-year-round thrush. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Stonechat balancing act at Turvey Parklands. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Bullfinch in a bare tree. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Frank points the way forward at Turvey Parklands. Picture by Bill Rea.

Frank and Pat Twomey were last to leave the hide and by lingering that bit longer saw a large flock of Golden Plover land at the eastern end of the area. Sometimes it pays to stay that little while longer. Of course there are always a few birds that were 'seen earlier', todays being a Merlin and that most elusive bird a Water Rail. A single Grey Heron and some Little Egret brought the number of species seen to a very respectable 47 in less than three hours. Many eyes make for high species counts!

Eleanor Keane

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