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)