Sunday 18 November 2012

Lazy birding

A fine sunny day it was yesterday, chilly but great light. And yet I had to drag myself out. Maybe I'm birded out after such a damp squib of an autumn. It was nearly lunch before I ventured anywhere.
Owen texted to report a Pink-footed Goose with the feral Canada Geese at Rostellan. Worth checking as PFG are rare enough in Cork and this would be a year tick also.

Pink-footed Goose, Rostellan Lake, Cork - 18th November 2012
The juvenile Common Sandpiper that had us thinking Spotted Sand back a few weeks was still around but there was no sign of the putative Lesser Scaup amongst the flock of Tufties. There has been plenty of discussion around this bird in the last few weeks on both IBN and Birdforum. There is probably too much doubt that the bird is a pure or even a hybird Lesser Scaup so I haven't ticked it. As I had never seen Lesser Scaup anywhere there was little for me to add to the ID debate but I still think it just looked 'different' and now that it appears to have left the Tuftie flock it seems all the more interesting. Adding it to my Irish list is not going to push me up amongst the big listers so it makes no real difference there. Learning something about Aythya ID, now that's more useful!
From Rostellan I drove onto Ballybrannigan, A report on Friday of two Waxwings in a nearby cottage garden was worth checking but there was no sign. Though to be honest I'm not too happy peering into strangers' houses with my bins so I didn't look for too long.
I parked at Ballybrannigan strand and had my lunch. Lovely view and the strand may have been worth a check but I just didn't have the urge.

Ballybrannigan Strand, 17th November 2012
I continued back towards Upper Aghada passing this fine Buzzard perched on a telegraph pole receiving the usual nonsense from a couple of Rooks. I took the shot below from the car, if only the Buzzard had turned its head a little more to the right I'd have gotten its eye. A moment later it took off and flew out of sight chased, of course, by the two Rooks.

Buzzard being hassled by Rooks.
I stopped briefly at Whitegate and counted about six Med Gulls. Over at Aghada pier the only Grebes were Great-Crested. I expect it may be just a little early for Black-necked or Slavs but I'll keep an eye out.
By now it was 4pm, time to get home and watch the rugby.


  1. I saw that the Lesser Scaup had been tuned into Non Scaup, while I didn't read any of the ornithological "willie-waving" that undoubtedly went on, on BF or the IBN, I did sit and watch that bird for a good while and how it interacted with the Tuftie flock and other birds.
    As I have said to others when discussing this bird; it was always on the edge of the Tuftie flock and being chased away regularly (if a tad half-heartedly) by some of the Tufties and also being given a hard time by the Black-headed Gulls, which seem to ignore the rest of the Tuftie flock.
    Maybe we should spend more time watching not only this individual's behaviour but also the behaviour of other species toward it, instead of griping over photos and generally being forum warriors?

    1. I agree, the photos can't tell the full story. I still think there's more to this bird than just an odd looking Tufted Duck.

  2. Arse! I also forgot to say that the banner pic for the blog is an absolute belter - love it!

    1. Thanks, I processed it first by cropping just the Semi-P but later on I zoomed out and showed the bird plus the Sanderlings it was with and I think it looks much better that way.