Sunday, June 17, 2012

Some recent photos

 The view approaching Tory Island, not often seen below a blue sky!

One of only 3 corncrakes to show well despite the great weather. This bird was sitting on a wall beside the road on my way to the pub late in the evening, the birding never stops! 
 Gannets on Saltee, the colony on the west end of the island is a fantastic sight.
 Kittiwake, the first time I have seen a 'red-legged' kittiwake, always worth looking for the real thing though!
 'Bridled' guillemot, atleast two were on the southern cliffs on Saltee.
A pair of chough showed well on the southern cliffs, regularly returning to the same outcrop, undoubtedly nesting nearby. It was great to get good, close views of these after all my recent views have been pretty brief and distant.

Some recent sketches

I have been away from a scanner for a while now so this is a few pics from recent travels. A great trip to Tory Island for corncrakes was followed by another great trip out to Saltee Islands off Wexford last weekend. The following day I travelled to north wexford to see a family of bearded tits a friend had just found. The tits stayed distant but a male and 4 juvs were seen sitting together on reed tips. Great to see them continuing their rapid spread.

After two very quite days on Tory, my third morning started well with stunning views of a few corncrakes singing in the fields behind West town. The day only got better when I found Irelands first collared flycatcher while watching this bird!

This short-eared owl was hunting along the northern cliffs of the island one evening. I never got too close to it but some clear, pro-longed views made it enjoyable evening of sketching.

 On the marsh by the lighthouse I found this stunning male ruff amongst the colony of common gulls. It spent most of its time feeding on its own, but half-heartedly displayed to a passing redshank at one point. The common gulls were relaxed and enjoying the fine weather, an adult yellow legged gull with a few lesser black backs were a nice surprise.

The north eastern cliffs held several pairs of puffins. It is a difficult area to watch, but one narrow bay allows a close approach to a small part of the colony. The birds rarely stayed put for long, usually running into their burrows immediately after landing. Occasionally they sat outside their burrows enjoying the sunshine but always kept one eye on the sky with this peregrine regularly circling the cliffs.

A few sketches from a sunny day on Saltee and some fantastic views of the seabirds last weekend. Atleast 2 'bridled' Guillemots were on the southern cliffs, the island is a much better location to sketch birds than Tory as the cliffs aren't as steep and the birds more approachable. The day finished with great views of 2 hobby's and a montagues harrier at Tacumshin, with a few bearded tits flying over the reedbed.
After travelling to see a family of bearded tits a friend found at  a new location, this cuckoo showed really well, perching on fence posts and wires being constantly harrassed by the local meadow pipits.