Ireland - June '24

"It's only an Island if you look at it from the water." - Chief Brody

It had been a long time since I had visited Ireland outside of the Christmas season. 

This year we decided on a family break for June as a change and a chance for family and friends to meet Freya.

Always a great experience to deal with the constant threat of death on the back roads of Ireland. 

Driving on Irish roads...sure yet can't bate it

As well as dealing with these bastards everywhere ya go. 

Feckin muckers!!!

As always, we got in a bit of birding too.

A day trip to Louth was productive enough, seeing a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs (amazing to see two together) and getting a long overdue self found tick in the form of an Avocet! (Excellent result).

Also stopped off in Rush to check in with Dara Fitz and seeing the long staying/returning Least Tern (the most boring bird on the Irish List 🤦. Honestly, a grey rumped waste of space 🤣).

General birding was good from the perspective of seeing things we don't get in Finland, with Stonechats, Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Fulmars, Auks, Little Egrets and Kittiwakes everywhere.

Kittiwake - rare in Finland. 

And everywhere we went we saw and heard Woodpeckers and found evidence of their presence. 

Woodpecker evidence 

A couple of days road tripping in Cork was decent for seabirds again, enjoying big numbers of things like Gannets, Manxies and even a Cory's Shearwater.

Ahhhh Cork

A Little Ringed Plover in Cork, in what looked like good breeding habitat was also good.

A day trip over to Mayo towards the end of the trip was very enjoyable.

I arrived in Belcarra at dawn on Friday 7th and immediately had the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron leave roost. It then took a bit of time to locate on the river (the banks are high and the bird can be quite unobtrusive below you) and enjoyed point blank views with not another soul in sight. Awesome.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron - what in the name of Jesus is this yolk doing in the arsehole of Mayo? And it really is a million miles from anywhere. Baffling. 🤣

I then carried on to the Mullet where it took over an hour to finally pull the Elegant Tern out of the tern colony. 

This was a loooooong overdue tick after dipping the original Lady's Island bird fadó fadó bejaney.

It's a tough bird to see, requiring patience for the entire colony to lift off the island in a dread and then you have to be fast to pick it out before they land again. Unfortunately it never chose to sit out on the beach. 

A Great Northern Diver here was another good bird from a Finland perspective.

I then tipped down the Mullet stopping off at Cross Lough for the Long staying Black Duck. This too was a bit of a hoor. Keeping to vegetation at the west side of the lake. 

Spot Daffy. Hoor of a bird. Took ages for him to emerge and give me a full body view...and he went back into the weeds as soon as he did. 

A quick loop around Blacksod and Tarmon produced nothing of note, but the scenery as always was spectacular. 

I then headed to Annagh Marsh to check for Red-Necked Phalarope. 

Just before the marsh, what I presume was THE long staying Azorean Gull (at times others have been reported) was mooching around.

Azorean Gull 

It took two tries to see a Red-Necked Phalarope (with a check of Termoncaragh in between) and the view was witheringly brief. 

I had hoped to spend an hour at Annagh head for the craic, but road works of all things on the only road out screwed that plan. Shame too as it was fairly squally all day and I could see birds moving out there in good numbers.

Perhaps in hindsight I should have made straight for Rob Vaughan's Double Crested Cormorant instead of dossing around the Mullet, but an enjoyable day all the same. The drive back was an ordeal though. Thank the Thunder god Thor for red bull...

Till next time, Ireland.

Has to be done...


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