Sunday, 6 November 2011

"Ballycotton gives and Ballycotton takes!"

Ballycotton gives and Ballycotton takes!". My wife Polina came up with that about a year ago after she started to notice that everytime we see good birds at Ballycotton I end up losing something. 3 years ago a White-rumped Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper (a good BallyC bird) and a Marsh Harrier cost me a lens hood. Last year, 7 Buff-breasted Sandpipers and 20 Curlew Sandpipers cost me a pair of waterproofs. Today, A Buff-bellied Pipit, a Whinchat and a Barred Warbler cost me a pair of sunglasses! Good help me if I ever find something really rare there myself, I'll probably lose my car keys then!
Anyway, the weather today was absolutely cracking, not a breathe of wind, clear skies and good light. Myself and Harry Hussey headed to Ballynamona strand to get views of the Buff-bellied Pipit which Dennis O'Sullivan found yesterday. The bird had been located near the beach carpark feeding on the weed with Rock and Meadow Pipits. It was initially distant but a helpful Red Setter flushed it  little closer to our group.

Buff-bellied Pipit - Ballynamona Beach 6th November 2011
Unfortunately that was the last time any loose dogs helped us out so once the beach had filled up with other dogs (and their owners) we called it a day and decided to look in Ballycotton village itself for migrants.
We had got no further than 200 metres away from the carpark when I spied a nice Whinchat sitting up on the hedgerow along the road. Sadly before I got a chance to press the shutter it flew into the field on the opposite side of the road against the strong sun. It was fly-catching here happily so I decided to set up the camera and tripod and wait for it to return to the hedgerow where I'd first seen it. In the meantime Harry suggested he'd continue to walk the narrow road that leaves the car-park and joins the main Ballycotton road in the hope that there might be something else around. He returned 20 minutes later and happily told me that he'd had a Barred Warbler further down the road. I left the Whinchat to its fly-catching and followed Harry. We relocated the bird after about 5 minutes and were soon joined by several other birders who'd been to see the Pipit. The bird did what Barred Warblers often do and remained elusive but at times it showed quite well.

Barred Warbler - Ballycotton 6th November 2011

This was the best shot I could manage, if it stays there may be better shots than this. 2 male Blackcaps and a female Blackcap were also in the same area.
We eventually made our way up to the village but it was all quiet there. One final check for better views of the Barred or Whinchat but by that stage the light and birds were gone so I headed home to roost myself.

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