Sunday, 30 December 2012

Still time for one more year tick

Well, I'm on the home straight as they say. Into my last stretch of birding in Cork before we leave for the UK.
A male Goosander was reported yesterday and again today from Midleton. Showing well upstream from the Charleston Maltings. I got there at low tide and the bird was in absentia. I spoke to the finder Sean Cronin and he confirmed to me that I was in the right place but as I suspected the wrong time. I headed off to do some food shopping at the local Tesco, I figured the bird might appear again as the tide turned.
I arrived back one hour later and this time I could see the bird distantly in the channel swimming and diving.
I set my gear up hoping that as the tide rose the bird would begin to make its way up the channel and would eventually pass below me allowing for some reasonably close shots. However after twenty minutes or so it hadn't budged an inch and if anything seemed to be moving further away. I thought perhaps it might make more sense to go to Great Island for the last hour of light and come back tomorrow morning on the high tide. Just as I turned to go I bumped into Ken Preston  and Alex Jeffares. Ken knew a back road that would bring us closer to where the bird was out along the channel. So both Alex and I followed him in our cars, we parked up, cut through an old graveyard where we flushed Pheasant, Jay and Stock Dove. We came out onto the shore and this time we were able to view the bird from a distance of about 150 meters. The light was crap though and sheets of drizzle came sweeping up the channel. I took a few record shots before we all called it a day and headed back to our cars.

Male Goosander, Midleton, Cork - 30th December 2012
I'll head back on a high tide within the next few days for better views. This is only the second ever Goosander I've seen, the previous was a red-head along the river in Glanmire in February 2009.
I notice that the adult Iceland Gull I found on 26th December in Cobh is being reported as a fourth winter Kumlien's Gull. Mark Carmody had better views of it within the last few days and felt that the grey on the primaries is too extensive for a nominate glaucoides bird. Opinion is still a bit divided on the bird but obviously I hope it turns out to be a Kumlien's. I haven't seen too many adult Iceland Gulls but those that I have seen have never had anything like as much grey on the wing tips as this one so I certainly feel that its a very good candidate for Kumlien's Gull.

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