South Dublin Branch - Outing Report

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

Rogerstown Estuary & Turvey Parklands - 7th October 2018.

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South Dublin members gather in the car park at Turvey Parklands. Picture by Joe Hobbs.

South Dublin Members on our October outing to Turvey & Rogerstown, 7th October 2018 (picture: Joe Hobbs)

Rogerstown Estuary and Turvey Parklands near Donabate in north Dublin have always been great locations to go birding and these days even more so as a result of work undertaken by Fingal County Council and BirdWatch Ireland to develop the area for the public and the birds with new car parking facilities, public footpaths, wader scrapes, freshwater ponds, bird hides, tree planting etc. We got a chance to enjoy all of this for ourselves on our October outing that took us across Dublin to spend time birding around the parklands and estuary.

On the day it was hat and scarf weather but the light was just perfect and it stayed dry throughout, which enticed about twenty South Dublin members to meet up at 10:30 in Turvey Avenue car park where we were delighted to welcome Aidan G. Kelly along who helped lead the outing. Following some branch announcements we headed off for a ramble that took us through the parklands to the estuary hide and back, stopping as needs be, a total distance of just over one mile.

Little Egret in flight. Picture by Aidan G. Kelly.

Little Egret, Turvey Parklands, 7th October 2018 (picture: Aidan G. Kelly)

Wildfowl on show went along familiar lines with resident Mute Swan, Shelduck and Mallard as well as winter visitors Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler all seen in small numbers. We were disappointed that Gadwall eluded us as we had high hopes of seeing this charming duck, having heard that up to seven had been reported there in recent weeks.

A male Pheasant gave a very brief glimpse of its brilliant colours as it dashed along a boundary hedge before diving out of sight in to long grass. Both Grey Herons and Little Egrets gave better and prolonged views. Grey Heron is essentially a solitary bird, although conversely are entirely sociable when it comes to nesting in heronries often spanning across a number of trees with as many as ten nests in each tree. White herons are called egrets and there were at least ten Little Egrets seen during the outing. This attractive heron is now well established as an Irish breeding bird since first recorded in 1997 and are a common sight on estuaries and streams nowadays.

Cormorants on the northern shore of the estuary. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Cormorants, Rogerstown Estuary, 7th October 2018 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Cormorants were very much in evidence, both in flight and on the ground, including a group that were perched along a series of wooden stakes on the Balleally side of the estuary. Off in the distance towards the railway bridge was a Little Grebe ducky-diving for grubs.

We had numerous views of soaring Buzzards that we estimated involved at least three individuals with two close together on one occasion. Just like Little Egret this is another species that in the recent past has become more numerous, but unlike Little Egret it is re-populating its former range rather than establishing new territory. Plenty of Woodpigeons were about, their white neck and wing flashes making them easy to pick out.

Redshank wading the estuary shore. Picture by Aidan G. Kelly.

Redshank, Rogerstown Estuary, 7th October 2018 (picture: Aidan G. Kelly)

The first waders encountered were four Greenshank that we viewed through telescopes as they loafed on a grassy bank further up the estuary. The hide is manned each weekend by Fingal Branch members and on duty this day was Tom Kavanagh who greeted us when we got there. From the hide we added Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Curlew to our wader tally. We were lucky to see Curlew as they were tucked away out of sight in a field until something disturbed the flock and they all flew up in unison to circle around a few times, then disappear again. Gulls were few and far between with Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gull all we managed.

Female Stonechat hiding in brambles. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Stonechat, Turvey Parklands, 7th October 2018 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

We had a fine selection of passers; regular trips of calling Goldfinch passing over, and we had great views of Long-tailed Tit, male and female Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, female Stonechat and even a few late Swallows that were hurrying south. The usual array of Corvids were both seen and heard from start to finish. Most impressive was a Raven perched high in a pine, defying the Rooks and Jackdaws that circled it.

Some More Pictures

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Camera shy immature Cormorant. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures taken on the day by Gustavo Zoladz, Bill Rea and Joe Hobbs.
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Sleeping Oystercatchers, Redshanks and a Wigeon on the Balleally side of the estuary. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Bullfinch in among the berries at Turvey. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Linnet balancing act. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
En route to the hide. Picture by Bill Rea.
Still on route to the hide. Picture by Joe Hobbs.
The entrance to the estuary hide. Picture by Joe Hobbs.

About 2pm, we thanked Tom Kavanagh and everyone else for coming along and we began to make our way back slowly to the car park, called it a day and heading off home. As usual we had enjoyed some great birding around Turvey and Rogerstown, a favourite South Branch destination.

Joe Hobbs

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