South Dublin Branch - Outing Report

Bluethroat - Ballycotton, Cork (photo: Paul & Andrea Kelly)

Kilcoole, Wicklow - 9th September 2018.

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South Dublin members gather in the railway car park at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

South Dublin Members on our September outing to Kilcoole, 9th September 2018 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Following Frank Doyle's talk at last Tuesday's branch meeting I bought my field guide, and its first outing was to Kilcoole. Using bins borrowed from Eleanor Keane I was looking forward to what we might see. The weather was fine, the temperature between 14 and 19 degrees with a light breeze and best of all, no rain.

On arrival in the car park a flock of approximately 70 Starlings perched on the telephone wires – immediately their chattering began, each belting out their own song as if trying to outdo their neighbours. Less obvious in the bushes was a small flock of Goldfinch.

Some of the Goldfinch present in the car park bushes at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Goldfinch, Kilcoole, 9th September 2018 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Soon a call of Red Kite went out and soaring above us we saw one, distant at first and then closer. It’s reddish-brown forked tail, black wing tips and white under-wing markings clearly visible. No doubt it was one of the birds from the Red Kite re-introduction scheme, and who knows, maybe even one of those we had seen earlier in the year at Avoca during our May outing? A couple of minutes later a Kestrel and a Buzzard were spotted – all fantastic and we hadn't even left the car park.

In gliding flight above Kilcoole, the unmistakable forked tail of a Red Kite. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Red Kite, Kilcoole, 9th September2018 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

A total of 25 South Dublin members arrived for the outing. Branch Chairperson Eleanor Keane and committee member Rachel Hynes welcomed everyone and we were soon on our way heading south towards the Breaches. Just off shore Gannets and Sandwich Terns were feeding. Further out a Guillemot was spotted, this was a little harder to see as it bobbed up and down between the waves. On the beach several Ringed Plovers appeared and disappeared on the stony shingle ridge.

Along the grassy path a flock of Linnets and a Stonechat were admired. We stopped at the Buckthorn bushes and scanned across Webb's Field and its pools. There were a number of Little Egrets dotted along the edge of the water courses. A single Dunlin with a black belly patch meaning it is still in breeding plumage was busy feeding. It was my first time to see Shoveler and Shelduck. There were Curlew, Lapwing and two Greenshank that were in the grassy areas close to the water's edge. Busily feeding in the channels were three Black-tailed Godwits.

A Ringed Plover on the shingle beach at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Ringed Plover, Kilcoole, 9th September2018 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Three calling Buzzards circled overhead, a sound I love to hear. They stayed in the area for quite some time. The Kestrel showed again, at first hovering and soon was being mobbed by Rooks – experienced birders noted it was a female distinguished by the brownish red back. On the walk back to the car park those bringing up the rear had the lovely September sighting of six Willow Warblers in their lemon-yellow plumage. These warblers would soon be departing for their winter quarters in Africa.

We had hoped for a Wheatear but unusually for this time of year none showed so that will be for another day. Back at the car park seven Mute Swans flew low over head. The power and sound of their wing beat was amazing – the rhythmic humming or whistling sound – fantastic.

Some More Pictures

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Little Egret in Webb's Field. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures taken on the day by Gustavo Zoladz.
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A flight of Mute Swan flying low overhead. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
One of a number of Buzzards seen on the day. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Black-tailed Godwit wading in the Webb's Field channels. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
A couple of Sandwich Terns not yet departed for African winter quarters. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Female Kestrel. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Willow Warbler in the thicket. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
A Linnet on a wire. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Definitely not a bird, but (probably) a Common Green Grasshopper. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

The knowledge and level of detail people have, always amazes me as a relatively newly joined up BirdWatch Ireland member. How they can decipher the bird species with just the smallest of glimpses or sound. Thank you again to everyone for being so friendly and welcoming, always willing to share your knowledge and scopes. I look forward to the day I can in some way return the favour, for now I just have to say a huge thank you. The final tally of species seen on the day was 39.

Mary Daly

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