I had a few hours though so I headed east towards Knockadoon Head stopping first at Ballywilliam where I'd seen a Hoopoe 2 years previously on almost the same weekend. The best there was a Chiffchaff.
Knockadoon was a little better, no Black Redstarts at the pier but a single Sand Martin in off the sea near the tip of the head was a welcome sight after the winter. As I came back along the campsite I picked up a single chiffer in the pines, watching it for a few minutes I realised that a second phyllosc with it was a very early Willow Warbler! They were both a little too high up in the pines for a decent picture but a group of about 3-4 Goldcrests were much more obliging.
|Goldcrest - Knockadoon campsite, 24th March 2012|
On Sunday I headed over to Ardmore Head, hoping rather than expecting to see the Woodchat Shrike, no joy though, these things never do stay long in the spring. A walk around the head didn't produce much but this smart male Reed Bunting posed nicely.
|Reed Bunting, Ardmore Head, Co. Waterford, 25th March 2012|
|Samson crane, Ardmore Head, Co. Waterford - 25th March 2012|
A little dejected having seen so few migrants I swung by Knockadoon Head on the way home and my spirits were lifted by a nice female sort Black Redstart in the campsite.
|Black Redstart, Knockadoon Head - 25th March 2012|
At the tip of the headland a single Swallow came in off the sea and continued inland, a very welcome sight and something that continues to amaze and delight me, how do birds make the journey's they make?
Climbing into my car on Monday morning a Chiffchaff was busy singing behind the house.....
On Monday more amazing news broke. A female (or was it a male??) Red-flanked Bluetail had been found on Shite Lane by Ciaran Cronin. Staggering find and well done Ciaran!! I got out of work at 9pm on Monday.....no chance of getting to Galley Head. With several 'critical' meetings Tuesday morning making it to Galley was unlikely. I brought my gear into work and kept one eye on my mobile all morning. If it showed I was going to slip away at 3pm, pick P up in Cork and head to Galley.....no sign of the bird though. The 3rd Irish record, first spring record and like the previous 2, this one too was a one day wonder!!
Sunday I was off so P and I drove to Bunmahon for the Purple Heron but our luck was out. A quick check at Helvick Head on the way back, surprisingly no migrants whatsoever but 10 Sandwich Terns busy dive-bombing near the shore and calling loudly to each other was a welcome sight and sound.
|Sandwich Tern - Helvick Head 1st April 2012|