Sunday, 20 November 2011


It's the autumn that just keeps on giving, one month to go before Christmas and all sorts of good stuff is still turning up. Yesterday (19th November) saw the Pallas's still at Power Head and the campsite at Knockadoon Head had 6 Black Redstarts, a sandy coloured looking Lesser 'throat and quite a few Chiffs, several of which were likely tristis. Late in the evening a probable Hume's Leaf Warbler was picked up in the gulley between the shrine and the campsite but sadly it was not seen the following morning.
I had made my plans to head to Knockadoon Head on Sunday morning with the purpose of checking out the Hume's, however with no word on twitter all morning I assumed the worst. Nevertheless, Owen found his second Pallas's of the autumn with a bird in the caravan park, so I'd go for that and possibly it might pose for some pics. Sadly for me the bird was quite mobile so after a brief but unsuccessful search I headed over to the campsite. The Lesser 'throat was showing well but in such light that told me photos wouldn't be anything special.
A suggestion from Ronan McLoughlin that it might be worth heading across the county bounds to Waterford for a Bluethroat at Ballinclamper seemed like the right idea. Heading east over the mountains though with a heavy mist and diminishing light it seemed like we'd made the wrong call. I arrived at Ballinclamper about 10 minutes after Ronan, the light had improved slightly and Ronan had seen the bird. It was feeding on the bank which runs down onto the beach and occassionally on the seaweed. The amount of weed on the beach was significant. While it provided plenty of insect food for the Bluethroat and various Pipits it was slippery, uneven and stank to high-heaven!! Initially the bird did a disappearing act, but after about 15 minutes it showed feeding on the weed and for the next 45 minutes or so it gave great views at times coming within about 20 feet. Given the light conditions I think Ronan and myself did pretty well!

Bluethroat - Ballinclamper, Co. Waterford - 20th November 2011
What I really liked about the bird was something I only really noted in pics afterwards and that was its attractive rusty-red outer tail feathers. They're just visible in the first photo but were obviously much more apparent in flight. I assume from its plumage the bird is a first winter male.

Here are some movie clips posted to Youtube

Youtube clip of Bluethroat

Another Youtube clip of Bluethroat

Always a great bird to see, only my 3rd ever! It's been a great autumn, here's hoping for more!

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