Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rostellan and Roches Point

Often a quiet time of the year, I guess if I wanted to see good birds I could drive to Wicklow for the Rough-legged Buzzard (I even had the offer a lift) or to Ardglass, Co. Down for the Ross's Gull. But I just wasn't in the humour to venture too far. Don't get me wrong, both would be new birds for me and of the two I would dearly love to see Ross's Gull but the urge to twitch has weakened somewhat!. However the day was dry and reasonably bright so after a lie-in and breakfast we headed out. Stopping first at the Lough, there was no sign of the 2nd winter Iceland Gull reported earlier that day. There were good numbers of gulls present but nothing special. Polina though was quite happy to snap away at the Coots and Moorhens who as you know are very approachable at the Lough.

P shoots some Coots - 21st January 2012
However we soon got a little bored there and decided that Rostellan Lake would be worth checking. Rostellan Lake is midway between Ballinacurra and Aghada on the road to Roches Point Lighthouse. I have seen Marsh Harrier there a few years ago and while stuff can often sit distantly in the middle of the lake it is worth a look.

Rostellan Lake, 21st January 2012
When we arrived there were the usual collection of Mute Swan, feral Canada Goose and Mallard close in to the edge were people come to throw them bread. Beyond them was a large group of Black-headed Gulls resting on the water facing into a fairly cold and stiff breeze. A quick scan through them produced several sub-adult Med Gulls and one winter plumage adult Med Gull.

Med Gull -Rostellan Lake, 21st January 2012
A large female Sparrowhawk cut a quick dash along the edge of the opposite reed-bed and momentarily put everything up. I'm not sure she'd pose a threat to any gulls or ducks but I guess they take no chances and assume any medium sized raptor is a Peregrine. She sat perched in a far off willow before deciding to move on. I checked amongst the Tufties for Scaup or Ring-necked Duck but to no avail. The group of about 20 Wigeon gathered on the far side of the lake were all Eurasian. As the evening began to draw in we decided to continue on down towards Roches Point, the tide was fully in at Whitegate so I didn't bother to stop. At Roches Point the wind was bitterly cold, but even then its still a very picturesque spot right at the mouth of Cork harbour.

Roches Point Lighthouse - late evening 21st January 2012
Every year I promise myself that in the autumn I will check the gardens around the lighthouse for migrants, the cover is not great but it must surely bring some good stuff in. Of course, every autumn I forget that promise and flog the usual spots such as the Old head, Mizen, Power head and Galley...........ok so this autumn then!
With the wind so sharp and the place feeling so exposed there were very few birds to be seen, I looked briefly for Black Reds up near the Lighthouse but didn't look too hard. Meanwhile P forgot all about taking any photographs as she had made a new pal!

Polina (on the right!) with her new best friend!

With not much light left we headed for Rossleague, Great Island. I wanted to check quickly for Spotted Redshank. Unfortunately the tide was fully in so there were none, a close group of Ringed Plover were there though..........where were they during the bird-race?
After that it was hometime.

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