West Pier, Dun Laoghaire - 6th November 2022.
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South Dublin Members, West Pier, Dun Laoghaire, 6th November 2022 (picture: Bill Rea)
Dun Laoghaire has a large harbour with two long piers. The West Pier is 1.5km long and offers a great opportunity to get good views of birds in the middle of Dublin Bay. This outing started at 10am in the Salthill or Windsurfer's car park at the base of the West Pier. It was led by Niall Hatch with 44 participants.
As the day progressed, the large number taking part were strung out in several groups and Niall Keogh kindly acted as a second trip leader for some of us. Niall wrote up a very thorough trip list which is available online at eBirds.
Great Crested Grebe, Dublin Bay, 6th November 2022 (picture: Robin Pollard)
The day started off with calm sunny conditions and a high tide which meant we had excellent visibility. Starting at the car park and facing towards Sandymount, we had a flock of 13 Red-breasted Mergansers that included some displaying males. We also had excellent views of a dozen Great-crested Grebes and a stunning juvenile Great Northern Diver, at close range.
We walked around to the pier itself and a search of the inner harbour for little grebes drew a blank. We did, however see Common and Black Guillemots and later on we added the third common auk species, a Razorbill.
Black Guillemots, Dun Laoghaire Harbour, 6th November 2022 (picture: Robin Pollard)
As we walked along the pier, we had some flyover Linnets, Goldfinch and Pied and Grey wagtails. We checked the boatyard at the base of the pier for Back Redstarts and Snow Bunting but none were found, despite an influx of both around the country in recent weeks. Moving further along the pier, we were treated to great views of Red-throated Divers and we got all the usual gulls with three Mediterranean Gulls as nice bonus.
Linnet, West Pier, Dun Laoghaire, 6th November 2022 (picture: Bill Rea)
We got further views of Great Crested Grebes and Black and Common Guillemots, as well as a variety of waders including Turnstone and a Redshank and Rock Pipits on the outer sea wall of the pier. The tip of the West Pier is normally a very reliable spot for wintering Purple Sandpipers but they were not there on the day, perhaps due to the large numbers of people in the area and we heard there was a flock reported at Sandycove around the same time.
Some More Pictures
Inside the harbour we got good views of two Grey Seals. Outside the harbour, Niall Keogh spotted a group of four Harbour Porpoise, including a mother and calf. After reaching the tip of the pier, we then slowly walked back to the car park and the outing ended at noon.