Friday, 25 March 2016

Coastal Ireland Minileague - February 2016

Noel Keogh furthers his lead on the Coastal Ireland Comparative Minileague table by adding seven points during February, taking him to 86.8% at South Dublin Bay. Gaining finders points for a second adult Ring-billed Gull was followed up by a wintering Common Sandpiper and most importantly, a Velvet Scoter (the first here since 2002) which hung around for some time and was twitched widely by Dublin county birders.

Eamonn O’Donnell continues his excellent start to the year at Ninch/Laytown with Glaucous Gull, Long-tailed Duck and Velvet Scoter taking him to second place with 75% on the dot. Looks like he’s on track for another good year of PWC effort. Neal Warnock bags an adult Ring-billed Gull at Larne Lough, placing him in third with 67.68%, just ahead of Derek Polley at Banger West in fourth.

The best rarity finds of the month can be found further down the table however. Julian Wyllie sits in eleventh place on 55.9% but boasts an impressive duo of Black Duck (12 points for the find) and Caspian Gull at Baltimore while Dave Suddaby, currently in last place on 44.6%, managed a most excellent office window tick in the form a Tundra Bean Goose at Blacksod! The Baltimore Black Duck proved popular, with many birders doubling up with it and the Glaucous-winged Gull at Castletownbere making for a productive West Cork twitch.

Black Duck © Paul Connaughton (Shearwater Wildlife Tours)

Eamonn O’Donnell takes first place on the Points Minileague table from Noel Keogh’s South Dublin Bay patch but only by a matter of one point. Eamonn also has the highest species list, just one shy of the ton at Ninch/Laytown at the end of February.

After several patch visits with little reward, Joe Proudfoot managed three year ticks in the space of five minutes at Sandymount where Stock Dove, Kestrel and Peregrine made for a welcome flurry. In a similar fashion, Graham Johnston hit a purple patch at Rinville in Galway with a Red-necked Grebe and an adult Iceland Gull one after the other. Such is the way patch birding can go!

Noel Keogh enters a score from his second patch, the infamous Tacumshin Lake, where he has seen 91 species so far including Glossy Ibis, 2 adult Bewick's Swans, Ruff, Chiffchaff, Short-eared Owl and 2 Long-eared Owls. His best patch birds however being male Red-breasted Merganser and a Fieldfare!

Iceland Gulls showed up at Clonakilty/Inchydoney for Christopher O’Sullivan and at Kilmore Quay for Tom Moore where he also year ticked Slavonian Grebe. Slavs are pretty rare around Dublin so Eleanor Keane did well to pick up on one which spent a couple of days off the West Pier, Dun Laoghaire. A much rarer bird locally than the Red-necked Grebe which was also present (along with Snow Bunting and Black Redstart).

In Co. Waterford, Arlo Jacques got to see the satellite tagged 2nd calendar-year White-tailed Eagle (fledged from an Irish re-introduction project pair nest last year) at Tramore Backstrand and Keith Adams made sure he got Black Redstart and Fieldfare before they headed off for the spring at Dunhill ecopark/Annestown/Boatstrand.

Moorhen was a crucial year tick for Neal Warnock at Rathlin Island! 

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