Wednesday 2 November 2011

A few days off!

I had 6 days off work in late October and decided to head west for Mizen Head after word reached me of a Red-eyed Vireo found by Owen Foley. Reaching the head on Thursday morning I met local birder Dan Ballard, Dan told me the bird was on show in the garden in the pines. 2 minutes later I was in position and of course no sign of the pesky varmit! 3 hours later it still hadn't showed so I decided it was time to take a break, warm up a little and get some coffee. I headed over to the main Mizen garden with Owen where we pinned down the tristis Chiffer. A very distinctive looking bird alongside the other common Chiffs and it called intermittently allowing me to get my ear in on its vocalisation. I obtained a couple of decent shots of the bird as it fed close by in the willows;

Sibe Chiffer - Mizen Head 20th October 2011

Sibe Chiffer - Mizen Head 20th October 2011

Feeling in better spirits I returned to the REV garden and this time the bird appeared feeding in the fuschia hedgerow in the field opposite. I've only seen REVs in Panama and Ecuador and then they were high up in the canopy feeding but this chap was very showy in the evening light and allowed some nice pics!

REV -  Mizen Head 20th October

REV - Mizen Head 20th October
The bird remained in the garden for at least a few more days and I know several people connected with it and got some great shots also!
The next few days I took in the Old Head and Knockadoon Head in East Cork but the best bird was a late Willow Warbler on the Old Head picked up by Harry Hussey. Blackcaps and Chiffers were plentiful however.
With a bit of brighter and calmer weather I decided to head west again this time to Galley Head. A Black Redstart (looked like a 2nd cy male) was hopping around the rooftops near Red Strand and while trying to get a shot of a Yellow-browed Warbler (without success) at Dirk Bay this Chiffer showed briefly. It never called sadly but I think it looked good for tristis (what with me suddenly being an expert on these now ;-)). See what you think!
Sibe Chiffer? - Dirk Bay 24th October

A female Common Redstart appeared briefly in the garden of the end house but I couldn't relocate her, a female type Black Redstart was also present on the pier wall at Dirk. Just in case you think it's all very autumnal, there was a winter plumage Red-throated Diver in Dirk Bay and a very nice summer plumage Great Northern Diver off Red Strand, just letting me know that winter was on the way.
My final day off saw me once more on the Old Head. Checking the Plantation the very first bird was this nice Lesser Whitethroat. I spent a few hours watching the bird and obtained some shots. After posting them on line some observers felt the bird looked very brown and could possibly be one of the eastern forms. Some of the local ringers were contacted but were unable to travel to the Old Head so this one will remain a little mystery. Here's the shots and I will leave it up to you to speculate!

Eastern form Lesser 'throat???

Showing quite a lot of brown on the head and mantle.

I headed home just as a Firecrest was found by Ronan O'Driscoll and the next morning a Subalpine was also located by Ciaran Cronin proving that the Old Head always has the potential to deliver!

1 comment:

  1. Nice work G-Dawg! Feel free to join us on Mizen next year!