Sunday, 15 January 2012

City Birding

If you live in Cork city and don't feel much like travelling too far for your birding there are two great locations each within a couple miles of the city centre that are always worth a visit. Both Cork city Lough and the Atlantic Pond are great spots for gulls and ducks and always popular with the photographers amongst us.
During the week a male Ring-necked Duck had been found at The Lough and a 2nd winter Iceland Gull had also been present. So with those targets in mind a visit was on for Saturday afternoon.

The Lough, Cork City, 14th January 2012
I had been looking for the drake Ring-necked Duck for about 30 minutes when I met up with Ronan McLoughlin. We contined searching together but the best we had was a single 1st winter Mediterranean Gull.
1st winter Med Gull - The Lough, 14th January 2012

(Actually now that I think of it possibly the best we had was a pair of Teal, can't ever remember seeing that species on The Lough before). Apart from the Med Gull, the most numerous other gull there was Black-headed Gull, then possibly Common Gull and also the odd Lesser-black backed but no sign of any Icelands sadly. Ducks included Tufted Duck, Pochard (all drakes - I'll say about 20 because Harry Hussey told me on Sunday that he had counted that many there!), a few Mallards (though not many) and several pairs of Shoveller.
Male Pochard - The Lough, 14th Janaury 2012

Male Tufted Duck, The Lough, 14th January 2012
Male Shoveller, 14th January 2012

We chatted briefly to Ken Preston who had seen the Ring-necked drake on Thursday at the far end of the Lough. Thinking that the bird could be elsewhere we decided to check the Atlantic Pond over towards Pairc Ui Caoimh which can hold small numbers of Tufted Duck, possibly it was moving around with these?
Atlantic Pond, 14th January 2012
However the pond was pretty dead. Not even a Ring-billed Gull present and those are almost a certainty each time I go there. A couple of Little Grebe were present, this is a great spot to get close views of Little Grebe during the spring and summer as usually 2 or 3 pairs breed on the Atlantic Pond itself, however for the moment the light was poor and the birds were sleeping. Not wishing to admit defeat just yet we headed back for one last look at The Lough. This time even the Med Gull had buggered off :-(
Polina and I checked The Lough again on Sunday but had nothing new, the light was even duller and we decided to call it a day after an hour.
I suppose following the run of the last few months there had to be an off day for a is January after all!!