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Old Sunday 23rd March 2008, 20:25   #51
Brosnabirder
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[quote=Paul Troake;1155880]Hi all

I've been over in the Callows this week looking for waders. Still plenty of flooding after recent rain.
Highlights were...on Wednesday, a male ruff (alas not in breeding plumage) and at least 3 sand martins to the north of Shannonbridge. Also a female merlin was perched in a willow all the while I was there. These were probably all on the Roscommon side of the border, though worth a mention I think.
Yesterday, an oystercatcher was feeding at the edge of the flood NNE of Inchinalee Island (NE of Clonmacnoise), Co. Offaly. I'm told these are very scarce visitors to the callows.
I returned to the hide at Ashton's Callow last Friday. At least 3000 black-tailed godwits were still present, with some feeding not far away to the left of the hide, though difficult to get a look at their legs for rings. Still good numbers of duck, but nothing of note.





Thank for the report Paul.
I was at Ashton's on Friday too but in the evening. I must have just missed you. As you say nothing startling there. No raptors unusually but see below. The Redshank were very noisy, seems like they are just waiting for the floods to recede before getting on with things.
Good to hear the Ruff are back too. They are regular at Ashton's in autumn and spring too. The maximum number I saw together there this autumn was 8 although flocks of up to 41 (Bridge Callow, Banagher, March '99) have been recorded. Males in partial and full summer plumage show up occasionally.
Nice record of Oystercatcher, have never seen one in the area myself but there is some suspicion they may be breeding on the Shannon.
Your experience with the Godwits being distant mirrors mine. They've only come close enough to the hide to see their legs on one occasion this year while I've been there. The callows represent the biggest gap in ring resightings in the whole of their European wintering range although a member of the Operation Godwit team read rings this year on the Little Brosna. Good to hear you visited the area again.

Firville Lake, Borrisokane was quiet this Friday too with some Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Tufties, Mallard and Whoopers present. A Blue-winged Teal showed up here last year so it's always worth a scan.
Reddan's Lough, Borrisokane quiet on Friday too, a few Common Gull and 12 Gadwall were about the best. Good site for wintering Gadwall.

On Saturday morning (yesterday) I saw a male and female Hen Harrier hunting within 50m of each other at a breeding site in the Silvermines Mts, Tipperary. I didn't see display there yet but it's surely only a matter of time. The male came heart stoppingly close on Saturday. Full adult with clean grey wings. I was actually packing up the scope when he appeared first. Isn't it always the way! Don't think I've ever set up my scope so quickly before. The female was mobbed by Hoodies and left the area very quickly. Last spring I saw a male, female and a juvenile bird within minutes of each other at the same site. Their presence here today explains why they weren't at Ashton's on Friday I suppose.

After that I visited Lough Eorna near Nenagh. The best there was a couple of Common Gulls and a female Ruddy Duck. One of the lucky few who have escaped the cull by dint of living over here. It's a regular site for Ruddy Duck but I haven't had many sightings there this winter. They can be elusive there though in the reedy areas

Today I saw a pair of Yellowhammer at a regular site near Ballinderry village North Tipp. Spring seems to be finally kicking in.

Last edited by Brosnabirder : Sunday 23rd March 2008 at 22:54.
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Old Friday 28th March 2008, 16:28   #52
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Hi Tom

Aidan Kelly was in touch with me re the photos of the Ring-necked Duck that you took at Lough Ourna. I only looked at them briefly at the time and due to the poor quality of them I didn't say anything.
However Aidan has doubts about the likelyhood of this bird being a pure Ring-necked Duck and I'm inclined to agree with him now.
Going by the shots the bird seems to lack the white ring at the base of the bill and around nostrils (granted usually very hard to see) and the presence of a very prominent crest. How dark were the flanks and how clear was the white spur?
There are shots of a similar hybrid from Sligo at http://www.sligobirding.com/November2007.html
Aidan said he had another hybrid at Lough Iron, Westmeath this winter also.

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Old Friday 28th March 2008, 16:51   #53
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Originally Posted by Brosnabirder View Post
20 Sand Martins and 8 Little Egrets seen at Cabragh Wetlands, Thurles, Co Tipp this morning. Spring is definitely here.
Also one Sand Martin reported at Lough Eorna on Sunday morning
What's the status of Little Egret in Tipperary? Know that they are still quite rare in extreme inland Cork, though, perhaps, more common than we think (there are very few resident birders in north Cork, with only Ger Walsh near Mitchelstown coming to mind, and whoever happens to be warden at Kilcolman in a given year).
Buzzard, as I hinted in the Cork thread, is really starting to get, if not quite 'common', a lot more firmly established here now, with perhaps up to 20 known pairs at this stage...not bad, when one considers that they weren't proved to breed until 2004!
Regards,
Harry
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Old Friday 28th March 2008, 18:02   #54
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Originally Posted by Harry Hussey View Post
What's the status of Little Egret in Tipperary? Know that they are still quite rare in extreme inland Cork, though, perhaps, more common than we think (there are very few resident birders in north Cork, with only Ger Walsh near Mitchelstown coming to mind, and whoever happens to be warden at Kilcolman in a given year).
Buzzard, as I hinted in the Cork thread, is really starting to get, if not quite 'common', a lot more firmly established here now, with perhaps up to 20 known pairs at this stage...not bad, when one considers that they weren't proved to breed until 2004!
Regards,
Harry
Hi Harry,
Little Egret is still a notable sighting in Tipp. Usually a winter visitor but there are a few summer records. As far as I know they haven't bred yet but I can't be 100% sure on that. There are very few people looking out for them.

There has been a big increase in Buzzard sightings (in North Tipp at least, I don't know enough about South Tipp) in the last few years and breeding is strongly suspected by me at least given the large amount of apparently suitable territory, the number of sightings, and that they breed in Offaly.

It's just proving it thats the problem
Again not enough observers.
Heard about another "pair" in North Tipp last weekend and waiting on a more exact location before checking it out. Fingers crossed.
Best wishes,
Tom
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Old Friday 28th March 2008, 18:49   #55
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Originally Posted by Dermot Breen View Post
Hi Tom

Aidan Kelly was in touch with me re the photos of the Ring-necked Duck that you took at Lough Ourna. I only looked at them briefly at the time and due to the poor quality of them I didn't say anything.
However Aidan has doubts about the likelyhood of this bird being a pure Ring-necked Duck and I'm inclined to agree with him now.
Going by the shots the bird seems to lack the white ring at the base of the bill and around nostrils (granted usually very hard to see) and the presence of a very prominent crest. How dark were the flanks and how clear was the white spur?
There are shots of a similar hybrid from Sligo at http://www.sligobirding.com/November2007.html
Aidan said he had another hybrid at Lough Iron, Westmeath this winter also.

Dermot
Hi Dermot,
I was wondering about that myself. Thanks for bringing it up,
The lack of a clear white line on the bill base is troubling as is the crest.

On the plus side the head did look quite angular rather than rounded and I didn't detect any tuft on the day.
I was thinking it could have been a 1st winter bird moulting into adult plumage which might explain the minus points like the lack of white around the nostrils and the lack of a clear cut white line on the bill base since these features are apparently less prominent in juvenile birds and presumably are also less prominent on moulting juveniles too. However I don't know enough about moult in Ring-necks to offer any kind of definitive opinion on this.

The flanks were noticeably darker than the accompanying Tutfed and the spur stood out. However the flank/spur contrast was perhaps (from memory) not as clear as on a drake I saw at Reddans Lough last April and May.

However the concensus seems to be hybrid which given what you outlined above seems to be the way to go.
Interesting bird.
Thanks for bringing it up Dermot.
Regards
Tom
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Old Monday 31st March 2008, 16:13   #56
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I had 4 little egrets well inland at near Carlow town a few weeks back.(In with cows the B**t*rds)
Furthest inland I have ever seen them!Cant be far off breeding inland at this point.

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Old Saturday 5th April 2008, 19:43   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pariah View Post
I had 4 little egrets well inland at near Carlow town a few weeks back.(In with cows the B**t*rds)
Furthest inland I have ever seen them!Cant be far off breeding inland at this point.

Pariah
Fingers crossed on the Egrets.

Swallows and a House Martin seen at Cabragh Wetlands Thurles today.
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Old Friday 11th April 2008, 17:36   #58
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Yesterday morning (Wednesday) I took a walk up Keeper Hill (Tipperary). Flushed 2 Woodcock on the edge of a conifer plantation on the west side of the hill.
1 Jay and a few Raven were about the best after that.

This morning on Ashton's Callow a Spotted Redshank was present. Still in winter plumage. This is the third April in a row one has been recorded here.
Also present were 8 Ruff and a Kingfisher. Apart from that the usual mix of ducks were there though much reduced in numbers. Also c.400 Black-tailed Godwit.
I've attached some Ruff pictures from today below.
The last one is of a Redshank. I can't decide whether it is preening or looking at its reflection in the water
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Old Friday 11th April 2008, 18:19   #59
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Originally Posted by Brosnabirder View Post
Hi Dermot,
I was wondering about that myself. Thanks for bringing it up,
The lack of a clear white line on the bill base is troubling as is the crest.

On the plus side the head did look quite angular rather than rounded and I didn't detect any tuft on the day.
I was thinking it could have been a 1st winter bird moulting into adult plumage which might explain the minus points like the lack of white around the nostrils and the lack of a clear cut white line on the bill base since these features are apparently less prominent in juvenile birds and presumably are also less prominent on moulting juveniles too. However I don't know enough about moult in Ring-necks to offer any kind of definitive opinion on this.

The flanks were noticeably darker than the accompanying Tutfed and the spur stood out. However the flank/spur contrast was perhaps (from memory) not as clear as on a drake I saw at Reddans Lough last April and May.

However the concensus seems to be hybrid which given what you outlined above seems to be the way to go.
Interesting bird.
Thanks for bringing it up Dermot.
Regards
Tom

Tom,

The absence of white at the bill-base on Ring-necked Ducks occurring in Europe is a topic which has come up here before, and which is probably not a clear-cut case of hybridism (at least not F1 hybrids)

See http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=71645, and http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=925108 among other threads. Perhaps PM Joern Lehmhus for comment - hybrid wildfowl are his specialism.

Graham

PS - great thread - I have family on the Tipp/Off border and while I don't visit these days it's great to hear of all the locations I visited as a young child.
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Old Friday 11th April 2008, 20:56   #60
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Thanks for the info and the links Graham,
It's a tricky one that's for sure.
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Old Saturday 12th April 2008, 18:20   #61
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Pat Brennan saw a Green-winged Teal at Ashton's Callow today. See this link for a bit more info. Great find.
http://www.irishbirding.com/birds/we...ghting_id=3117
I must have missed it yesterday!

Pat also had two Great Black-backed Gulls and c.2200 Black-tailed Godwits at Clonmacnoise.
The Ruff and Spotted Redshank were not present today at Ashton's.
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Old Monday 14th April 2008, 17:42   #62
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Pat Brennan saw two drake Garganey at Cabragh Wetlands Thurles today. Spring is really taking off in the county.

http://www.irishbirding.com/birds/we...ghting_id=3149
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Old Tuesday 15th April 2008, 20:46   #63
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Great day at Ashton's Callow today
This morning I found a Garganey. Also 5 Ruff and c.400 Black-tailed Godwits. The Garganey disappeared into some cover on the far side of the callow from the hide but it's more than likely still there.
At lunch-time Pat Brennan refound the Green-winged Teal right in front of the hide. Thanks to Pat for pointing that out to me.
Also the Spotted Redshank was again present. Had a bit more summer plumage than last Friday. Hopefully it'll stick around until it fully moults. Legs still orange-red so it still has some way to go.
Blackcap and several Willow Warblers singing on the way down to the hide too.

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Old Wednesday 16th April 2008, 22:00   #64
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At Ashton's Callow today, thanks to Stephen Heery for the update
1 Little Egret
1 Spotted Redshank, much blacker today than yesterday even.
9 Ruff, 5 males and 4 females.
50 Godwits.

Cabragh Wetlands Thurles
2 drake Garganey still present today. Thanks to Pat Brennan for that report.

Lough Eorna Nenagh, quiet this evening when I visited.
Black-headed Gulls back at the colony there. Also a couple of Great-crested Grebes

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Old Thursday 17th April 2008, 20:20   #65
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Today in Tipperary
Pat Brennan and myself saw a Med Gull at Goat island, Lough Derg and 25 Whimbrel.
Supporting cast included Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black backed Gull, Great black backed Gull and Black headed Gull. Bit of a Gull fest overall,

At Ashton's Callow
Spotted Redshank (getting noticeably blacker day by day) and drake Garganey again present. 11 Ruff including some near summer plumaged males also there. Joined by 2 Ringed Plover, Dunlin, 50 Black-tailed Godwits. Wader passage in full swing.

In among the Godwits Pat picked out a Long-billed Dowitcher in summer plumage. It stayed about an hour and a half before flushing with the Godwits. Great find and glad I was there. I got a couple of 'record' shots which I'll post at a later stage. Ashton's really great at the moment with lots of exposed mud and still some pools for the Teal and Garganey. Anybody who wants to find some good birds get down there soon but don't forget to let me know. The Callow is drying out fast.
Not a bad day out at all

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Old Friday 18th April 2008, 09:35   #66
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Feck Coole!

Hi Tom,

Looks like I might head down on Sunday- the temptation to see garganey and dowitcher is just too strong- I can't handle it!

Will let you know if what the plan is.

Good thread by the way- will mention it to all and get them to chack it out.
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Old Friday 18th April 2008, 22:31   #67
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This morning at Ashton's Callow
Spotted Redshank still present
Also 9 Ruff
3 Whimbrel
Grasshopper Warbler reeling on the way down to the hide
No sign of Dowitcher today
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Old Sunday 20th April 2008, 19:26   #68
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Yesterday at Ashton's Callow I saw
I colour ringed Godwit in a flock of 55
6 Ruff
10 Lapwing, Some displaying.
Sharragh Bog, a Blackcap in song.
Clonmacnoise and Shannon Harbour were quiet.

At Cabragh Wetlands Thurles the 2 drake Garganey and a Marsh Harrier were seen yesterday.

Today at Ashton's a different colour ringed Godwit was present along with 1 Whimbrel and 5 Ruff
Also a Peregrine and a few Sedge Warblers
30 Whimbrel flew over Inch Callow and 10 Stock Doves and 11 Lapwing including some displaying birds were in a recently planted barley field near Inch.
The rest of the Callows were fairly quiet. As was Firville Lake. Apologies to the lads from Galway for not producing the Dowitcher and the Garganey. Good day out anyway

At Lough Eorna today
2 Great Crested Grebes
8 Pochard
Also a pair of Ruddy Duck associating with each other here.
Also displaying Lapwing at Ardcroney Lake.
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Old Monday 21st April 2008, 12:19   #69
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Well Tom,

No apologies neccesary. Great views of Peri and my first Sedge of the Year made it worthwhile- as well as two lifers in Ruffand Whimbrel!-how sad is that?

Keep us up to date on the callows- I was suggesting a trip there in a few weeks for Galway branch but might be better of leaving it til the winter.

Would you be up to a visit to portumna forest park on an outing- might pick up some good woodland species and migrants.

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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2008, 22:00   #70
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Things have quietened down at Ashton's Callow this week as it dries up. Duck numbers are falling fast.
On Monday and Tuesday the most notable sightings were the displaying Lapwing on Ashton's and Inch Callow.
Also Tuesday 74 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Ruff, and 1 Whimbrel. Also the same banded Godwit we saw on Sunday was again present.
Below I've included some very poor shots of the banded Godwit I saw Saturday. Also some 'record' Shots of the Dowitcher.
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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2008, 22:06   #71
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Here is the Godwit.
By the way the last Dowitcher pic above shows it with a Godwit to give an idea of scale
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Old Thursday 24th April 2008, 00:18   #72
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Amazingly a Green-winged Teal, a Long-billed Dowitcher and a Spotted Redshank all showed up on April 19th at Shannon Airport Lagoon. The last sighting I had of the Spotted Redshank at Ashton's Callows was on April 18th. Wonder did all 3 relocate together to Co. Clare.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2008, 12:07   #73
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A Long-billed Dowitcher has been seen with the Blackwit flock at Shannon Airport Lagoon for the past few years, usually in late summer.

Perhaps the same bird???

Has there been any similar sightings of Dowitchers in Tip before?

Possible explanation: LBDow wintering with Blackwits (somewhere like Spain?) migrate north through Tip, end up at Shannon Airport. LBDow & Blackwits come back to Shannon airport in late summer?????

See Ya,
Niall
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Old Thursday 24th April 2008, 18:15   #74
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A Long-billed Dowitcher has been seen with the Blackwit flock at Shannon Airport Lagoon for the past few years, usually in late summer.

Perhaps the same bird???

Has there been any similar sightings of Dowitchers in Tip before?

Possible explanation: LBDow wintering with Blackwits (somewhere like Spain?) migrate north through Tip, end up at Shannon Airport. LBDow & Blackwits come back to Shannon airport in late summer?????

See Ya,
Niall
Thanks for the info Niall.

As far as I'm aware that was the third Tipp record of Long-billed Dowitcher. Kevin Collins saw one at Ashton's Callow on 15th and 20th of September 1993 and one was 'collected'/shot at an unspecified location in Tipp in 1893. Not bad for a completely inland county with a very low number of observers. One spring, one autumn and one unspecified.

What I was struck by is that the Spotted Redshank and the GW Teal also occurred at Ashton's and after apparently disappearing from there all three species reappeared at Shannon Airport at the same time. I suppose there is no way of knowing for sure if they are the same birds but the dates are suggestive.

A move from the Little Brosna to Shannon would be a south westerly jump but its not that far away directly.

Tom.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2008, 21:46   #75
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Ashton's Callow today seen by Pat Brennan. Thanks to Pat too for the info on previous county LB Dowitcher records above.

1 Ruff.
10 Whimbrel.
80 Godwits.
Bit quiet again today.
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