South Dublin Branch - Outing Report

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

Shanganagh Cliffs, Shankill - 9th June 2019.

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South Dublin members taking part in the June outing to Shanganagh Cliffs. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

South Dublin Members in Shankill DART Station car park, 9th June 2019 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Twelve South Dublin members assembled in Shankill DART Station car park for our annual visit to Shanganagh Cliffs, where they were greeted by Frank Doyle who led the outing. Taking the short walk along Corbawn Lane to the cliffs avoids a scramble over the rocky shore further north and arriving at the beach on a falling tide we had an easy walk on clear sand and gravel.

A juvenile Sand Martin at Tacumshin Lake, Wexford in 2011. Picture by Dick Coombes.

Sand Martin, Tacumshin Lake, Wexford, 20th July 2011 (picture: Dick Coombes)

Sand Martins at Shanganagh Cliffs are doing well this year! Once again they have built their tunnel nests at eight or nine locations high in a seam of fine sand above the southern end of Killiney Beach. Judging by the intense activity we witnessed this morning, the many families of chicks are being well nourished by totally dedicated parents.

While it is clear that the cliff face is subject to constant erosion, the hardworking Hirundines are not pausing to meditate on the passing present; they are busy creating the future. None of us caught a glimpse of a little brown chick at a tunnel entrance, but the sheer volume of insect meals served during our visit to the colony was very impressive indeed.

Oystercatcher getting to grips with the Limpets at Shanganagh. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Oystercatcher, Shanganagh Beach, 9th June 2019 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

With plenty of space on the beach, we were able to view the feeding activities of the Sand Martins without any interference with their nest sites. Hopefully the rest of this rearing season will pass successfully, until the smallest of our Hirundines are all ready to head for their winter quarters in Africa, in the Sahel region below the great Sahara Desert.

There was a good show of familiar passerines in the surrounding foliage, including tits, House Sparrow, Wren, Goldfinch and Bullfinch, and the seaside was bathed in sunshine, very welcome after the recent dull wetness.

The master of standing still, a Ringed Plover at Shanganagh. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Ringed Plover, Shanganagh Beach, 9th June 2019 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

There were Gannets and Black Guillemots resting on the calm surface, and Gannets and Razorbills flying-past. A young Grey Heron waited among the rocks, while an Oystercatcher and a Ringed Plover paused for a quiet moment. Further out some Dolphins, which seem to favour Killiney Bay, were rolling easily across the surface of the sea.

Some More Pictures

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Gannet flying south past Shanganagh. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures of birds taken on the day by Gustavo Zoladz as well as some of Sand Martin taken elsewhere by Dick Coombes and Graham Prole.
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1st calendar year Herring Gull just cant crack those Limpets. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
South Dublin members on the beach at Shanganagh. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Adult Sand Martin in flight at Ballycragh Park, Firhouse, 6th May 2015. Picture by Graham Prole.
A rather bedraggled looking Sand Martin, Mullet Peninsula, Mayo, 24th June 2014. Picture by Dick Coombes.

This was the last outing of the current season and we thank all those who come along with us each month. Of course many more events and outing are planned and details of these can be found on the Events page, which is updated from time to time.

Frank Doyle

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