|Female Surf Scoter, Rossbeigh, 18/2/2018.|
With the wind coming straight onshore, and rain with it, viewing a constantly diving flock among high waves was far from ideal. A female Surf Scoter was picked out fairly close in early on, but the main target remained elusive. Eventually the Black Scoter was picked out, with his bulbous, yellow-orange bill illuminating the dreich morning.
After a Full Irish, it was back north, and we stopped at Limerick to check out the gulls along the River Shannon. Clearly feeding them is popular with the locals, and a few people were by the river chucking bread, with Mute Swans, Feral Pigeons and even a Grey Heron getting in on the free food.
|Juvenile Iceland Gull, Limerick, 18/2/2018.|
The main attraction though was the 3 juvenile Iceland Gulls that showed pretty well. A Kumlien’s Gull has been reported here for some time, but despite one of the Iceland’s seeming fairly dark, and displaying a slight tail band in flight, I wouldn’t mark it down as kumlieni. Perhaps there was a Kumlien’s somewhere along the river, and I missed it.
We then deviated along the Clare coastline, and managed a few more wingers, including 2 Glaucous Gulls at Liscannor and an Iceland near the Cliffs of Moher. At the former site, one of the birds was a really stunning 2nd-winter bird, and it obliged for photos at close range. After another failed check at Kinvarra for the Forster’s Tern, where I met some friendly local birders, it was back to Galway for the night.
|2nd-winter Glaucous Gull, Liscannor, 18//2/2018.|
In driving rain, picking out the subtleties of this Nearctic species was exceptionally tough. Sadly, I had to vacate the car and trudge through the damp golf course, being careful not to flush the birds (which consisted of Ringed Plover, Dunlins, Sanderlings and Turnstones) as I went.
|Semipalmated Plover, Keel, 19/2/2018.|
Ireland in the winter is really fun. As mentioned in the previous post, the combination of find-your-own and twitching is enjoyable, and you always have the feeling a rare gull is there to be found (sadly not by me). I’ll definitely be back one day.