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Monday, 4 April 2011

500 miles, two lifer's, the best fish and chips in the world....oh, and visit Mum on Mothering Sunday

This flying visit to Ireland had been booked for some weeks, so was relieved to hear that the Stejneger's Scoter was still hanging around at Rossbeigh.  Arrived Cork Friday evening, and spent an hour or so at Cobh, missing the Indian House Crow for the second time.  I then drove to Killarney for something to eat, and then on to Rossbeigh for the night.  Heavy rain and strong winds overnight, but awoke to some blue sky with odd showery clouds scuding by.  A sweep of the bay saw at least 500 Common Scoter in scattered groups, seven Great Northern Divers and an Eider.  Three other birders walked down the lane, so I walked up the lane, and sure enough soon picked out the target bird at several hundred metres range among 200 or so Common Scoter.  It was suprisingly easy to pick out, with the white flash behind the eye and the white secondary panel, but if any further out would have been a real challenge.  I called the other birders over, casually asking where they had come from....and yes it was bloody Yorkshire.  What a fabulous vista of the choppy sea, especially as the sun came up casting shadows, loads of Gannets wheeling about, and several Chough calling from the hillside.

It then took 4.5 hours to drive across country to Wexford to stay the night at Mums, where we paid a brief visit to Kilmore Quay.  I had my first Sandwich Terns of the year fishing off the quay, summer plumaged Razorbill, and close views of a Guillemot, which unfortunately was oiled on its breast.
Guillemot, Kilmore Quay
 On Sunday, had a brief visit to Ladys Island, where there were small numbers of wildfowl, but of interest were at least 40 Mediterranean Gulls, mainly summer-plumaged adults, a single 2nd summer, and at least two first-winters.  The rather effeminate 'oooeer' call from some of the Meds was very distinctive, if not rather amusing.  Not much to report from nearby Tacumshin due disturbance from several birdwatchers walking about, but was more than compensated for by some battered cod goujons and home-made tartare sauce from the best chippy in the world at Kilmore Quay.
Heading back to Cork in the late afternoon, heard the flight running at least 2 hours late, so swung down to Cobh for a very brief visit, and within a couple of minutes saw the Indian House Crow perched on its favorite drain attached to the Papa John's fast-food outlet.
Indian House Crow
   So, third time lucky for the House Crow......if you can call it lucky, pass the bucket... but then again it is an interesting bird.  It rounded off a very successful and enjoyable weekend, and even the delayed flight and not getting to bed until 0200 this morning did not spoil the memories.

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