Anyway, Saturday was one of those fine autumn mornings, clear skies, a light wind (in the city at least) and a little 'nip' in the air also.
I'd missed the high tide at Ballynamona, so many of the 'smalls' were spread out over the beach. However on the decaying seaweed in front of the car park were at least 50 wagtails, and most of them White Wagtails with a few Pied Wagtails thrown in. I consulted with Alstrom et al (Pipits & Wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America) later and have tried to age and sex some of the White Wagtails, I could be miles off, but here are my guesses.
|adult female winter|
|adult male winter|
|hmmmh - adult female moulting to winter (not sure though)|
|Juvenile Northern Wheatear - 1st September, Ballynamona, Cork|
|Dunlin, Ballynamona Beach, 1st September 2012|
|Juvenile Ringed Plover - Ballynamona Beach, 1st September 2012|
Back at the carpark I stopped to chat to a visiting UK birder before meeting up with Owen Foley and Dara Fitzpatrick. We took a short coffee break before heading further east to Knockadoon Head. The cloud had rolled in and the wind had picked up by the time we got there. It was pointless looking in any of the sites on the western side of the head as the wind was so strong. So instead we covered the sheltered west facing paths around the campsite. Dara picked up a nice Painted Lady butterfly resting along the path, I will never forget the invasion of Painted Ladies in 2009 when they were just everywhere, beautiful creatures. We stopped further along the path and began scanning out to sea. I got onto what I thought first were two juvenile Peregrines but once I noticed the white panels on the primaries I realised they were skuas. Dara correctly called them as light phase adult Arctic Skuas. Instead of passing on they remained in the bay chasing Sandwich Terns. I returned to the car for my camera and tripod but by the time I returned they were much further out (hence this distant cropped shot).
|adult Arctic Skua (light phase) - Knockadoon Head, Cork 1st September|
|juvenile Spotted Flycatcher - 1st September 2012 (nr. Knockadoon Head, Cork)|
Bird(s) of the day was Arctic Skua, no rare or scarce waders or passerines just yet but signs of movement are there for sure.