Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week ending 26th June - Munich, Dublin

Germany was a washout as far as birding goes. A lovely family holiday to an interesting part of the world, but no real birding opportunities. The highlights were several sightings of Goosander in city parks, and on the river Isar, and a trip to the mountains (to see an extraordinary castle) that produced several Common Buzzards.

Ireland is much more interesting however. The weather is pretty changeable, and can be grotty, but basically calm, and good for gulls. I went to Dun Loaghaire and Sandycove twice in the week looking for Black Guillemots and Mediterranean Gulls, as well as Grey Seals. The harbour at Dalky is good for large gulls and Grey Seals. Further south at Bray a nice walk along the cliffs lets you get close to Razorbill, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Shag, Great Cormorant and Northern Fulmar. Above the cliffs at Bray is a rocky head, with woodland at the base, and heath at the top, which makes a nice combination. Birds on the way up included Treecreeper and Coal Tit, and at the top were Meadow Pipits, Stonechat, Dunnocks and Linnets.

An unexpected surprise at the end of the day was a pod of 3 Bottlenose Dolphins offshore at Bray as I was having a well-earned pint!

Goosander in the English Garden, Munich. This one was a bit plastic, but there were plenty that weren't on the river Isar.

Common Tern ssp. hirundo, flying past the 40-foot at Sandycove

Pied Wagtail. I'd forgotten how smart these were.

Black Guillemot, nesting under the docks at Dun Loaghaire

Female Stonechat, on the head at Bray

Razorbill, between Bray and Greystones

Northern Fulmar, enjoying the updrafts of the cliffs south of Bray

Treecreeper, in woodland on Bray head

Juvenile Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Eurasian Oystercatcher

Grey Seal at Sandycove

Bottlenose Dolphins off Bray harbour

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week ending 12th June - IRRI, Anilao

Fairly continuous rain from Tuesday onwards due to Tropical Depression Dodong passing slowly over the northern Philippines, so little birding this week. On Monday I went diving at Anilao, and had a further 2 Red-necked Phalaropes. All my records of this species have been May/ June/ August, odd for a migrant that travels so far north.

The manky weather has been good for Rallids, and a Plain Bush Hen near the staff compound on Wednesday makes this brilliant endemic almost a garden tick for me (but not quite, another 100m or so...).

I'm flying tonight (Friday 10th) to Europe, spending time in Germany, Ireland and UK over the next 5 weeks, so no Philippine news for a while. I will post pictures of anything I find of interest though...

Tropical Depression "Dodong"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Week ending 5th June - IRRI

The weather broke this week, and we've had fairly regular showers. This has abated the temperature a great deal, and everything is green and/ or muddy. There are plenty of birds with youngsters in tow, particularly Munias, Pratincoles, Rails and Buttonquails. An interesting record was a Plaintive Cuckoo calling on the main farm. These are unaccountably scarce here, and I am starting to suspect they are a summer visitor only.

Female Red Turtle Dove, looking a lot like a Collared Dove!

Female Barred Buttonquail, looking for her chicks

Juvenile Oriental Pratincole