Sunday, March 4, 2012

Merlin, Bull Island

Travelled out to Bull Island in north Dublin yesterday afternoon hoping to get good views and do some sketching of some of the good birds on offer. Atleast 4 short eared owls, merlin, peregrine have been around for a while now, with the blue winged teal there for its 6th or 7th winter now. The tide was way out when I arrived and a few scans produced nothing. I walked the saltmarsh to the northern tip and saw very little. No short eared owls and only a brief view of a hunting Peregrine in the distance. Half way back to the causeway a female merlin buzzed over and north towards the tip, I followed it in the bins for a while but lost it and thought that was the end of it. A few minutes later, I spotted it or another on a post in the middle of the saltmarsh. I was able to walk to within 50 metres of it and got the spend plenty of time sketching it. The only problem being I had nothing to sit on and a wet arse was the price of the best views I have ever had of a merlin.

The messy flanks and diffuse barring probably age this as a 1st winter bird. A gorgeous bird and well worth the time to go and enjoy it. Plenty of skylarks, meadow pipits and linnets singing were a nice sign of spring.