Friday, 15 June 2012

Garden birds

There's a good assemblage of birds in my garden, some of them with families. Amongst the residents are Great Tits, Dunnocks, Sparrows, Robins, Blackbirds a Wren, and of course, the ubiquitous Jackdaws. On a couple of  occasions I have seen a Blue Tit and also a Bull Finch, which might be residing on the trees nearby. Last Tuesday a flock of about 15 Long-tailed tits stop by for a quick visit as I was refilling the feeders.
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), male

Juvenile Dunnock (Prunella modularis).
I have seen the parents several times, but this is the first time that I saw their chick.

Family of Great Tits (Parus Major). The chick is the one of the middle.

Great Tit chick being fed by one of the parents

Friday, 27 April 2012

Swallows, Treecreepers and Willow Warblers

I went back to try to get some photos of the Swallows. I only saw one of them today, however I was very lucky to see a pair of Treecreepers flying in front of me. I have only seen this little birds twice before in this location. The previous times there was also two of them, so they might well be a breeding pair.
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) serching for insects

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) singing on a perch
There was also a good few Willow Warblers. This summer visitors have been around for the last month. Despite their characteristic song making their presence conspicuous, it is not always easy to spot them, much less photograph them.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

First Swallows

Just saw the first Swallows of the year. There was six of them flying around at the Old Mill walkway.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


After an absence of two weeks, due to bad weather, butterflies started to appear again. First an Orange-tip in Tullyskeherney 10/4, followed by a Peacock, a Small Tortoiseshell, an Orange-tip, a Speckled Wood and a Green-veined White at the Old Mill 12/4 and then a Small Tortoiseshell at the Star fort 13/4.  
Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Green-veined white (Pieris napi)

Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Some spring flowers

Some of the plants that have been flowering in the last few weeks. The date the photos were taken, and when I first saw the plant inf lower, is given below each photo.
All the photos are taken in or around Manorhamilton.

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa); 22/3/12
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa); 23/3/12, in flower a week previous

Common dog violet (Viola riviniana); 27/3/12

Early purple orchid (Orchis mascula); 11/4/12, first Orchid I've seen this year

Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum); 11/4/12, in flower a week earlier

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale); 27/3/12, in flower a week previous

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara); 5/3/12, in flower 10 days previous

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Over 100 Brent geese in Strandhill!

I returned to Strandhill to check if the geese were still there. There was about 50 of them, within a short time 3 more small flacks joined in making it a total of at least 100. It was quite a spectacle to watch as they flew around from one spot to the next in search of food.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

First butterflies

Yesterday I saw the first butterfly of the year in a garden in Dublin, it was a Large White. Today, I saw a Peacock and 8 Tortoiseshell during my walk around Manorhamilton. The Peacock and 5 of the Tortoiseshells were seen in Tullyskeherny, the other 3 Tortoiseshells I saw at the Old Mill in Manorhamilton. I went there, after seeing so many butterflies during my previous walk, in the hope of seeing some Orange Tip butterflies. They are one of the first species to appear in the sprig and last year there was a good few of them at this location. I didn't see any today.

Peacock (Inachis io)
Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
Two Tortoiseshells during courtship

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Brent geese in Strnadhill

Last November I saw a flock of about 50 Brent Geese on these beach, so after seeing the small flock in Rosses point I thought there might be a good chance that I would find more in Strandhill. I wasn't disappointed, I there was 37 of them. Since they'll be starting their migration back to Canada in the next few weeks, it might have been the last chance of seeing them till next Autumn.
There was also a very large group of Ringed plovers near the town, they didn't hang around for long.

This photo was taken on a previous visit 14/11/11

Birdwatching in Rosses Point

Being a sunny day, with not too many people on the the beach, there was a good bit of bird activity. Taking advantage of the low tide to feed, there was a group of over 50 Oystercatchers, 5 Sandrerlings and 2 Black-backed gulls. Flying amongts the vegetation on the dunes were a pair of Medow Pipit. A pair of Shags flew by and they were shortly followed bu a flock of 7 Brent geese.

Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus)
Sanderlings (Calidris alba)

Medow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hello foxy!

After taking some photos of tadpoles I continued on my forest walk. When walking in this same forest last summer, a fox crossed my path at a relatively close distance. She/he seemed very curious and stood there for several minutes looking at me. Alas...I didn't have my camera. I have since returned few times to this forest and hoped I would run into the fox again, with no luck until today. Unlike the last time, this fox ran away as soon as he/she saw me. I only managed to get a fuzzy photo as she/he darted off into the safety of the trees.

Foxes like to mark their territory, and for this, they use prominent places where to place scent markers or feces. There was a nearby stone that the fox had used for such purpose, and I thought it would be a good place where to leave a food offering of nuts.

Tadpoles about

Frog activity has decreased, but tadpoles have now hatched from their eggs. Here's a couple of photos I took in a pool with a particularly large number of them.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Red squirrel in Manorhamilton!

I was sitting in my car yesterday, getting ready to drive, when I saw a Red Squirrel jump from the roof of a house and cross the main street in Manorhamilton right in front of me. It was pretty surreal!
If anybody else has seen a Red Squirrel in the town, please let me know.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Birds in my garden

While I was making a cup of tea after coming back from my walk, I heard a Robin in my back garden. There was two of them, and also a Wren. They're regular visitors to my garden, but I never had the camera handy whenever I've seen them before. The Wren was particularly hard to photograph since it is very fast and doesn't hang around for long.
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Horse chestnut buds and Great Tits

The Horse Chestnuts at the Old Mill are unfolding their leaves. I took few shots of the buds yesterday but the results were disappointing due to the low light levels, so I went back this morning to try my luck again. The day was just as grey, but I was delighted to see a pair of Great Tits nesting on the wall of the mill. The was few more of them in the trees nearby, some of them carrying nesting materials in their beaks.

Great Tit (Parus major) on Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) at the Mill
Great Tit just before it went into the gap in the wall where it might be nesting

Horse Chestnut  buds by the river

Monday, 5 March 2012

Bird watching in Saddle Hill

I went to the forest in Saddle hill in the hope of seeing a flock of Long-tail tits that I had encounter in previous occasions. There was no such luck. However, there wasn't a shortage of birds to be seen and heard: Great tits, Coal tits, Chaffinches, Mistle  thrushes and Robins, all singing in the sunshine, and even a pair of Ravens.

Coal tit (Parus ater)

Ravens (Corvus corax) flying high in the sky

As I was walking along, I noticed that a lot of the ditches were completely covered with Common hair cap moss, the red spore capsules stood out in contrast with the bright green leaves.
Common haircap moss (Polytrichum commune)

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), a resident of the river Bonnet.
Photo taken on 10/11/11
Today I went for a walk to Miltown Woods and I finally managed to get some shots of frogs, although not very good ones since the dogs were after scaring them.
There were lots of Lords-and-ladies (Arum maculatum) growing near the entrance, and the Hazels were covered in catkins.

Male and female Hazel flowers

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lesser Celandine

Last Sunday I spotted the first Lesser Celandine this year in the Claddagh  Glen (Co. Fermanagh). Today I saw four more plants around the Star Fort in Manorhamilton, see photo below. I also took a photo of some Willow flowers, they were covered in droplets from the rain and looked particularly pretty.
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)