Saturday, 24 March 2012

Some good days;25th October 2011

Some good days;25th October 2011

In 2011 I had my only real fall of migrants on the 25th October.  There had been a south easterly blowing for a couple of days and there was plenty of cloud as I drove up to Donegal. The only problem was there was no rain. It was dry the entire journey up. I was worried that with no rain the birds might have just kept travelling northwest with the wind and out to sea. Then about 5 miles from the coast the roads were wet. Good news, at least for me. The prospect of some grounded migrants on Tory. When the boat arrived there was low cloud and it was obvious there had been some rain during the night.

First stop, the Magic Bush. It is so named because of the birds that seem to magic from nowhere to take up temporary residence from time to time. It’s only 50 yards from the harbour.  If you are looking for migrants it’s the first port of call and so I went to pay homage.

It’s not much to look at. First off, it’s in a paved garden with no cover other than the actual tree itself.   The tree is about 25 feet high, it’s quite rakish looking and you can see through it. There was nowhere to hide. I look up and I can see two maybe three birds flitting about. Great, some migrants, I won’t go home empty handed. I lift the bins. First bird…. Yellow-browed Warbler!  Now that’s a great start. No jackpot but a great start. I wait about 15 minutes and the final tally is 5 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Yellow brow. It’s amazing how hard birds are to see when they want to stay hidden. 

I leave the harbour and head east with a smile on my face. A hundred yards along the road and another yellow brow flies over my head and lands on a stone wall and stays long enough to be identified. I presume it’s the magic bush bird moving back east. At the council cottages on the edge of west town, another yellow brow and a few more blackcaps are sheltering in the only cover available. It’s the same story up east with another couple of yellow brows in Graces B+B and Anton Meenans land at the east end. There are a lot of thrushes busy flying about around, 450 in all. Grounded blackcaps are hiding under rusty trailers and beside farm buildings. It’s a marvellous sight…migration in action.

 Yellow browed Warbler


 Song Thrush


 Yellow browed Warbler


 Willow Warbler



 Black Redstart

The final warbler tally is 61. 46 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, 4 Yellow browed Warbler and one late Willow Warbler. And a Black Redstart.

A quick visit to the lake at the west end reveals a juvenile American Golden Plover with the few residents. A tick!  A great way to end the day!

All the above photos were taken with the Canon Powershot. Its good for stationary birds but little use for small birds that move around a lot. I recently bought a DSLR Camera so I am hoping the photos will be better this year....

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