Sunday, 23 September 2012

21st-23rd September Yanky waders at last.

I had an e mail from Chris Ingram who was on tory this weekend;

Friday 21st September:  27 species seen, only bird of note was a female Kestrel.
Saturday 22nd September:  36 species.

Gannet  1 offshore
Fulmar  4 offshore
Mute Swan  2 on lakes in East and West, also 2ads+1imm on sea in harbour
Teal  2 on lake
Kestrel  1 female
Ringed Plover
Lapwing  c.25
Pectoral Sandpiper  1 juv at lake
Dunlin  2 on beach
Snipe  c.5
Common Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black Back
Great Black Back
Rock Dove
Skylark  c.5
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Chiffchaff  1 in well area
Willow Warbler  1 in magic bush
Hooded Crow
Raven  flock of 9 over football pitch + others
Chough   probably 2 pairs
Tree Sparrow  c.5 in West, c.7/8 in East
Snow Bunting  1 female by hotel
Reed Bunting  1 in Grace's garden

Only birds of note on crossings were 2 Kittiwakes on return.

Derek Charles and Majella Callaghan were also on tory this weekend and along with finding the Pectoral Sandpiper Derek also managed to find an American Golden Plover (second Tory island record) on the 23rd. Also present on the 23rd were the Pectoral Sandpiper and 2 Lapland Bunting.

From Derek;

Just 1 Manx Shearwater on return journey
Willow Warbler 1
White Wagtail 1 adult Male
Snipe 15
Wigeon 3
Teal 4
Snow Bunting 1 (Chris Ingram)
Mute Swan 3
Robin 1
Song Thrush 2
Pectoral Sand 1 juvenile the lake (D.C M.Callaghan, C.Ingram)
It was extremely jumpy. Once it seen you it was away, extremely vocal in flight)
Peregrine. Pair hunting together over lake, caught a Ringed Plover in mid air. Juvenile female the lake. Adult Female and juvenile female west town presumeably same as before
Merlin 1
Kestrel male and female
Dunlin 1
Meadow Pipit 100+
Skylark 4
Lapland Bunting 2 flushed from side of road near lake (D.C only)
AGP juvenile in off the sea Monday, picked up calling as it flew across lake and headed up the island.(D.C only)
Buff Breasted Sandpiper, Majella had one in flight over lake Saturday afternoon but we didnt relocate it and we didnt report to news services.

Thats about it one dead shrew and 1 live shrew seen!

Pectoral Sandpiper

Rock Pipit



all the best
Derek and Majella

All photos by Derek Charles

Three new species for the tory year list and all american waders.

Pectoral Sandpiper
American Golden Plover
Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Anton's Bunting

The large bunting mystery has been solved. Anton returned with his camera to take a photo of the large bunting and instead of one bird on the lawn there were now six of them! Anton realised his mistake and identified them as Skylarks. A familiar bird in an unfamiliar setting.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

19th September

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The weather did not look too promising for my trip. An american wader was probably my best bet but it never materialised. A few scarce birds did show including two island ticks.

Bunbeg Harbour

Passing Bloody Foreland
North Westerlies seem to produce the best birds at Bloody Foreland. There had been a good passage of seabirds the day before, so I was hopeful of Leach's Petrel or Grey Phalarope and a few skuas.

Manx Shearwater. One of just 2 birds seen.

Juv. Arctic Skua. One of two birds seen.
In addition to the usual suspects there were 7 Great Skua and 6 Leach's Petrel seen from the ferry.

White Wagtail
The beach held very few waders and no smalls.... A few White Wagtails and 20 or so Northern Wheatear were obvious migrants. After checking suitable areas, I located 6 flighty Lapland Bunting and a Snow Bunting (Tory tick) with an increasing number of Meadow Pipits.

Lapland Bunting
I found a dead Manx Shearwater at the lake, a victim of the recent storms.

Manx Shearwater
I put some feeders up in west town in preperation for the autumn rush!

Very quiet out east with a single Willow Warbler the best. West Town had a Robin (present for a month) and another Willow Warbler. On the BOP front a Kestrel  and a Buzzard were also on the island.

Anton Meenan rang to say he had another Snow Bunting on the hill behind his house.

Only 5 Snipe seen, but I flushed a Jack Snipe(Tory tick) from the east end.

Eamonn Meenan reported a large Redpoll in his garden today. I just got the news as I boarded the ferry.............

Saturday, 15 September 2012

13th September Anton again....

I had a call from Anton just now. His brother rang him to have a look at an unusual bird in the garden feeding on the ground...a lark like bird "bigger than a lark, with white in the wings or tail, size of a young corncrake.... it reminded me of a Corn Bunting"........... He is going to try and take a photo of the bird. 

I am presuming the white is actually on the wings as it would be difficult to see white in the tail of a bird at distance sitting on the ground...

He is going to try and take a photo of the bird. It sounds interesting anyway so I thought it was worth a post..................

13th September Anton Meenan

I rang Anton today and he told me he had 2 Lapland Bunting on the road to the Lighthouse on the 13th. Also a Robin present for a few days and a small number of other migrants including a pale warbler in the east end. His brother reported some new birds with the Tree Sparrows at the oat field behind his house, also in the east end.

The mini fall ties in with similar falls on Arranomore in Donegal and Ortolan Bunting on Inishbofin in Galway last week.

Anton reports the island as unusually quiet for this time of year. No easterlies yet this autumn..........

I am planning to get out again on wednesday when the weather is set improve.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

5th September

I made my second trip of the autumn to Tory yesterday.With 3 Semipalmated Sandpipers in Western Scotland and a few Pectoral Sandpipers and Buff breasted Sandpipers in Ireland, I was mildly optimistic about my prospects of finding an american shorebird.

The weather looked good with a few days of strong westerlies prior to my visit. Under similar conditions last september I had a very successful day.

Strong westerlies just north of Ireland

Maybe in hindsight 200 miles too far north.....

Locally, north westerlies with the possibility of good seabird movement on the ferry to Tory
 The crossing over was rough and the ferry had been restricted the day previously. I was disappointed with the numbers of birds and trying to take a photograph proved to be a nightmare.

Juvenile Gannet

Great Skua

Despite some great views these were the best shots I could manage. The highlighs  were 3 Great Skuas, 5 Sooty Shearwaters and 4 Manx Shearwaters.

On arrival the waders in the harbour gave good views but numbers were low and there was nothing unusual amoung them.

Juvenile Ringed Plover
There were a few dapper juvenile Ringed Plovers feeding on the sand, including this bird showing palmations between the middle and outer toe.

West Town
Presumed Willow Warbler. Now a Chiffchaff!
First stop West Town to look for migrants. I managed two Willow Warblers (now one Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff) including this bird with one tail feather and apparently growing some new primaries. The wet face looked initially looked like a dark mask. My pulse quickened considerably......

One of the road leading from west town.

Having checked the west and satisfied myself that no Common Yellowthroats or Hooded Warblers were lurking there, I checked some of the hillsides.
Painted Lady
I found a migrant butterfly which renewed my optimism. Near the lake I flushed a bird of prey from open ground.

Lanner type hybrid falcon? No-a normal Merlin!
The bird had a leather strap attached to its foot and was clearly an escaped falconers bird. The second in a month after a Gyr falcon hybrid on Tory in August.

(On second thoughts as was pointed out to me its more likely to be a wild Merlin with prey in its talon and it has picked up some grass stalks along with its prey.)

There were plenty of migrant Wheatears and White Wagtails about.


White Wagtail
White Wagtail
 Myxmatosis has had a big effect on the rabbit population down the west end of the island. Lots of dead bodies littered the roads. I found a few poor souls wandering around suffering.

Rabbit suffering from myxmatosis

I was running short of time and Anton kindly offered me a lift to the east end. It was very quiet, but on a better note his brothers small oat field held 21 of the 25 Tree Sparrows counted on the island. Its got to produce a rare bunting this autumn!

Anton Meenan