South Dublin Branch - Outing Report

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

Kilcoole, Wicklow - 11th September 2022.

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South Dublin members on the grassy track at Kilcoole during our September outing. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

South Dublin Members, Kilcoole, 11th September 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

I always look forward to our September events, not only because birds are on the move, but also to share birding experiences with people we may not have seen for a few months. Although the weather forecast did not look promising, 15 birders gathered at Kilcoole train station car park at 10am for the first outing of the season, brilliantly led by Niall Hatch. Kilcoole offers several different habitats; marshland, farmland, mountains, the sea and the beach are visible at all times

Goldfinches, Linnets and Robins kept us entertained while attendees were gathering. Bird activity was interesting, shortly after we crossed the train tracks we spotted a flock of Sandwich Terns feeding close to the shore, with several Gannets, Cormorants and Shags further out.

Sandwich Tern just offshore from Kilcoole. This bird will shortly depart for the west coast of Africa. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Sandwich Tern, Kilcoole, 11th September 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

We next turned out attention to the fields and marsh where we saw Curlews, Greenshank, Redshank, Stonechats among others as well as the first Wigeons of the winter season.

The first raptor to appear was a female Sparrowhawk, being chased at some distance off by a handful of Hooded Crows... but there was more to come. Shortly after, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon flew past low and fast, which caused a large flock of Lapwings to interrupt their feeding routine and we enjoyed a few minutes of their floppy alternating black and white wing beats as they circled about over the marsh. The Peregrine falcon showed markings that resembled a Lanner Falcon, however this was eventually discounted after checking with several sources.

Curlew keeping an eye on things at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Curlew, Kilcoole, 11th September 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

While at Kilcoole earlier in the month, one of our committee members, Emma Tiernan, tried out the new BirdTrack App to record all the species seen. BirdTrack relies on volunteers reporting their sightings in order to build a picture of migration and distribution patterns across Britain and Ireland. For example, BirdWatch Ireland staff have been using BirdTrack to monitor the widening distribution of Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, which has been colonising parts of the east coast since about 2009.

Emma has reported that the new App is so much easier to use than the last version stating, they’ve made it more user friendly and it’s so simple to add the lists of birds and the number of species that you see. When you enter records you can choose from 'Complete List' or 'Casual Sightings'. Emma used the 'Complete List' to record all of the birds that our group saw, whereas 'Casual Sightings' might be used to record, e.g. birds in your garden or out and about and she has used it while walking her dog.

More information about the new app is available from the BirdWatch Ireland website by clicking HERE.

Peregrine Falcon trying to look inconspicuous hunkered down in the marsh. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Peregrine Falcon, Kilcoole, 11th September 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

One of our target species was the Little Stint, a passage migrant and rare on the East Coast, it is the smallest regularly occurring shorebird in Ireland. It looked like we were to miss out but just as we were about to finish up, we spotted one flying across our path and landing at the marsh.

Some More Pictures

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Razorbill hanging about offshore. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some pictures taken at Kilcoole by Gustavo Zoladz and Dick Coombes.
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Stock Dove taking a breather in the grass. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
The full range of habitats at Kilcoole are on view in this image, the fields & marsh, grassy track, shingle beach and Irish Sea. Picture by Dick Coombes.

We had a very enjoyable outing in a familiar location, eventually calling it a day about noon and we got lucky with the weather as the rain held off until 11:30. This was the first outing of the new season of events that includes a few surprises, we hope to see you along.

Gustavo Zoladz

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