Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tory Island

 Grasshopper warbler, Horn head.
I was in Donegal for the long weekend and it was a little cold, wet and miserable. Quite a few migrants around, plenty of wheatear, whimbrel, white wags and 4 cuckoos singing from Muckish to Maharoarty.I had great views of atleast 4 singing grasshopper warblers on the loop around Horn head, one bird showing incredibly well, singing from a rough patch in a front garden!

 Puffins were busy pairing up and digging nest burrows, several showed muddy bellies and feet, interestingly only one of each pair was dirty, wonder which one! I spent a lot of time watching and sketching the birds but had to give up after getting thoroughly soaked and cold!

 Only one corncrake showed well although I did briefly see 3 of the 4 singing birds on the island. Above are a few quick sketches of the bird, I am thinking about trying to get back up again in a few weeks to see them a little better.
 3 eider were in the harbour and gave great views, it was nice to see them up close for once although they were quite wary.
 The harbour was full of waders, mostly turnstones, ringed plover and dunlin, a few redshank and 2 sanderling also. 1 moulting purple sandpiper was a nice surprise, my first time in a few years to see this plumage.

Great northern divers were on the move, with several in most bays and harbours along the coastline. This adult was feeding on flatfish and crabs in the tiny harbour in Mahoroarty.

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