Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Eve Birding

Christmas Eve was total mayhem on the streets and in the shops. A bit like the opening scenes from the movie 'Saving Private Ryan'. I thought I had it all covered and wouldn't need to venture out in the traffic but there's always one last thing to pick up isn't there?
A bit of local patch birding was the best way to calm down after all that craziness, so I drove the short distance over to Carrigrennan Point at Little Island.
From the car park I took the footpath that runs east towards Fota Island, the small pond was quiet save for a sleeping Little Grebe. But the willows along the path held Robin, Chaffinch, Goldcrest and a Bullfinch pair calling softly to each other. A group of about twenty Mallards had gathered in the second of the two pools further along the path and a couple of hidden Water Rails put up a chorus of squeals from within the rushes. In the shallows a Common Snipe regarded me carefully while he snoozed.

Common Snipe, Carrigrennan Point, Little Island, Cork - 24th December 2012
I checked the beech trees on the distant bank and lo and behold I spied a Kingfisher perched on an overhanging branch. Possibly my friend from last winter - see Carrigrennan Point and Pesky Kingfisher
Here's a record shot from back then, the best I could manage despite trying very hard!!

Kingfisher, Carrigrennan Point, Little Island, Cork - February 2012

I continued along the path a little further but an absolute downpour of rain had me legging it back to the car, camera's don't like water!
The showers cleared and I returned to the pool in the vain hope of a better Kingfisher view. He remained on the far bank, as elusive as ever. A couple of Little Egrets had taken to roost in the far trees and two or three pairs of Eurasian Teal were now present on the pool also.

With the evening drawing in I headed for home. Driving past the church in Little Island I spied this familiar shape perched atop a bare tree.

Waxwing, Little Island, Cork - 24th December 2012
He appeared to be all alone but at least he had a whole Cotoneaster bush to himself. I took a record shot in the gloom, a Cork tick after all.

Waxwing, Little Island, Cork - 24th December 2012
Before I finish this post I'd like to make a small plug. Its for a website that my wife Polina has just put together promoting the excellent Tai Chi school she visited this year in China. See - The Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi School

Happy Christmas!

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