Wednesday, 30 May 2012

30th May

The Collared Flycatcher must have departed over night as the only birds reported on the island were a few phylloscs around the magic bush and a single Robin (new for the year). Dark phase Arctic Skua(new for the year) also noted. 2 dark phalaropes (looked like Red-necked) from the ferry on the way home also noted.

27th May

Chris Ingram, Wilton Farrely and Robert Vaughan are on Tory today. The best was a female Redstart in Grace's garden, 20 Little Tern at the lake and RV had an adult Yellow legged Gull with the LBBGs at the back of West Town.
Other birds of note were 15 Collared Dove including 13 flying in off the sea, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 1Redwing, a Merlin, Peregine and a Buzzard.

28th May; Rob Vaughan had a Ruff in summer plumage at the lake, 3-4 Spotted Flycatchers a Redpoll and a Short eared Owl in the heather above the football pitch

29th May Collared Flycatcher

The weather has been looking great for vagrancy over the last couple of weeks and the island has had a good run since the Bluethroat arrived.
I was thinking about changing plans and heading to Tacumshin as there were 5 ticks there. Anyway, thank god I decided to make the journey to Tory, to look for my own good birds.

High pressure over Europe with light South Easterlies

Cloud over Tory with the possibility of light rain
Locally some westerlies predicted which might blow some migrants back
The ferry from Bunbeg was uneventful with a small movement of Gannets.

Ferry; looking back to Bloody Foreland

With not much doing, I went inside for a nap. I checked my phone and realised I had a couple of texts from Wilton Farrely and Conor Foley and a missed call to say that Robert Vaughan had found an "interesting Pied Fly" in West Town, just 200 metres from the ferry.

West Town and Harbour

Migrant Cover; behind West Town
 Within a minute or two the bird showed on and off but was quite elusive. It looked injured, but must have been just very tired as it recovered as the day progressed.

White blaze over bill

Large white primary patch and a ghost collar
The birds primaries were worn and brown aging it as a first year bird. Its grey plumage looked initially good for 'female type' but Rob later noticed some black in the mantle and uppertail indicating it was probably a male in some sort of funny plumage.

The bird then showed very well allowing me to get some good shots

Rob and I compared pictures. The bird ticked all the boxes for Collared Flycatcher but with no call heard, no DNA and "Flamborough Pied Fly" ringing in our ears we decided it would be best to get some photos upload to the internet ASAP and let folks make there own mind up about it. I managed to find a dark shed and took some photos with my smart phone of the image as presented on the cameras viewfinder. They looked great! I managed to get one photo uploaded before the signal failed.

Disco Fly
Anyway news soon filtered through that folks on the internet thought it looked good. Still, no call was a worry but the ghost collar looked perfect for a Collared as well as the other features and we though it probably good enough to rule out Pied.

Rob 'Disco' Vaughan and his first for Ireland!
Time to relax a little and check the rest of the island. A Common Sandpiper calling in the harbour was new for the year.

Redshank breeding at the lake

Fledged Wheatear and Lapwing were evident

Wood Pigeon tyring not to be noticed by agressive Lapwing parents

7 Collared Dove at the east end

Some lucky passing Cruise liner passengers managed to see the 'Disco Fly'

Not much down east but the fly showed well on my return

Only other migs were 6 Willow Warblers and 4 Chiffchaff

Final views of the 'Disco Fly'
4 birders managed to get over before dark and connect with the Collared Flycatcher
On my return home, a late call to KM put any of my final lingering doubts to bed.