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County Galway Birding (local patch)

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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 22:10   #51
birchall
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Cattle Egret

Hi all.
Spotted the lone Cattle Egret at Cartron today.

Tom (Cuffe), your directions were spot on. Thanks.

What a spooky bird. Just managed two very quick and very poor shots before he flew away. Shots attached.

I spoke with the farmer and his good wife who own the field shortly afterwards. They told me that four Cattle Egrets arrived about three months ago. The four travelled and flocked together until a few weeks ago when one seperated from or was driven off by the other three. They still travel around the neighbourhood and frequent the same fields but never at ther same time. The lone bird often flies into their field shortly after the other three have flown off.
Also they have often seen the lone bird flocking with crows. Is this some sort of herding or needing to belong instinct.
Can anybody offer an opinion on this?

Tom (Brosnabirder),
Here are directions:
Take Headford road from Galway. Pass Clonboo. Pass Clare river. Turn right at the Garda Barracks (you'll see the mast from some distance away). Signpost points to Corandulla. Pass corandulla, pass Cregg Castle on right. Come to Peggy's Pub on left. Turn left immediately at Peggy's pub. Take first (immediate) right. Go short distance. See sign "Cartron". See very large corrugated cattle shed on left. Egrets may be in field behind shed. Park in obvious spot just beyond shed in front of house on left. Egret I saw today was in field slightly further on on right near blind bend with cattle.
The farmer said you are almost guaranteed to see the three egrets in that field at 8.00 am every morning.
Alternatively, you can reach Peggy's pub by turning left at Loughgeorge as you travel north on Tuam road.

I have almost every OS map of Galway except that one (no. 46) so can't give a grid ref. Sorry.
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 22:19   #52
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Welcome on board for someone who had nothing to say/contirbute yesterday I think you have posted the longest post to date. Glad you got the Cattle Egret.
Tom
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 22:22   #53
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Brendan,
Behind the shed is one of the places I didn't look today. Thanks for extra directions and info. I have a good idea of where you mean from being there today. Hopefully the Egrets will stick around for a bit longer. I ranged fairly widely looking for them today, sounds like I would have been better off conentrating on the immediate vicinity of the shed.
Tom
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 22:26   #54
birchall
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Hi Tom,
I feel a bit silly for posting directions that you have already given. I was looking at page one of the thread. Did'nt realise that it had already gone to three pages.

Brendan
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 22:28   #55
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Can anybody offer any info on the unusual behaviour of the birds splitting.

Brendan
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 23:05   #56
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Talking to Tim Griffin yesterday he was talking about the pair of Egrets feeding together and could presume that they were male and female. Therefore the male is looking after his mate and hunting the other male away. Could explain them splitting up.
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 23:27   #57
birchall
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Tom,
Possibly. But does'nt explain the split into groups of 3 & 1 unless the male in group of 3 is a bigamist.
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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 23:33   #58
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You best ask the Cattle Egrets so. Could be two female looking after one male who knows. If you check the reports from around the country sightings range from one in the North to 12 I think in Waterford.

Last edited by birdsgalway : Sunday 27th January 2008 at 23:45. Reason: typo
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Old Monday 28th January 2008, 07:15   #59
Paul Troake
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Brendan

I've noticed similar behaviour at Rusheen, but with little egrets. Two turned up in mid November and have been there ever since. Initially one of the birds spent much of its time chasing the other one away every time it tried to feed near it. After a few weeks of this it eventually got the message and gave up on the whole company thing. In this instance it could be that a young bird was following an older bird (perhaps its parent?) around to take advantage of its food finding skills, and the older bird didn't welcome the competition for food (or may be was encouraging it's offspring to become independant). I guess this doesn't explain why some egrets are accepted in to a group and others aren't, but interesting behaviour anyway.

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Old Monday 28th January 2008, 08:42   #60
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Brendan & Troakie
If you guys keep this up we will be expecting a joint paper on the behaviour of Little/Cattle Egrets to be presented in the the Anna Santo Hotel in the near future.
Tom

Last edited by birdsgalway : Monday 28th January 2008 at 10:34. Reason: typo
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Old Monday 28th January 2008, 14:56   #61
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Nimmo's today at 1.00pm
American Herring Gull (1st winter)
Ring-billed Gull (adult)
2 Glaucous Gulls (1st & 2nd winter)
6 Iceland Gulls (2 adults 2 1st 2 2nd winter)
123 Brent Geese in the playing fields. My counts this year for Brent have gone from 14, 32, 66 and today 123 in the playing fields.
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Old Wednesday 30th January 2008, 21:40   #62
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Just a reminder about the monthly outing at Nimmo's Pier with Tim Griffin this Saturday 2nd Feb at 10.30 am
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Old Friday 1st February 2008, 17:24   #63
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Surf scoter still present off Silver Strand this afternoon. Also adult Iceland Gull offshore and hundreds of razor/guillies heading west.
NB - Silver Strand car park will be closed all weekend.

Troakie
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Old Friday 1st February 2008, 21:15   #64
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Thanks for the heads up on the carpark at Silver Strand. Galway Rally is on this weekend so they are keeping the boy racers out of some of the carparks. Major problems last year in the Dyke Road carpark so that is also closed for the weekend.

Before going out birding check for rally routes.
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2008, 18:42   #65
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Today at Nimmo's Pier
1st winter American Herring Gull
Adult American Herring Gull (I did not see it but 3 birders for across the water had it first think this morning)
Adult Ring-billed Gull (photo attached taken 29-01-08)
8 Iceland Gulls
2 Glaucous Gulls 1st and 2nd winter.
Red Throated Diver

Had 5 Long tailed Tits in the garden today which is a first..
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2008, 18:59   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdsgalway View Post
Today at Nimmo's Pier
1st winter American Herring Gull
Adult American Herring Gull (I did not see it but 3 birders for across the water had it first think this morning)
Adult Ring-billed Gull (photo attached taken 29-01-08)
8 Iceland Gulls
2 Glaucous Gulls 1st and 2nd winter.
Red Throated Diver

Had 5 Long tailed Tits in the garden today which is a first..
Great photos!! There's been Long Tailed Tits in our garden, but I've never managed to get a photo, they flit around so much.
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2008, 18:06   #67
Paul Troake
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5 purple sandpipers at Salthill today
At Mutton/Nimmo's: 3 little gulls, 3 glaucous gulls, 10 Iceland gulls, adult ring-billed gull.

Troakie
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2008, 20:31   #68
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The 1st winter American Herring Gull was feeding on fish offal at Galway Docks today, along with 6 Iceland and 1 Glaucous Gull 1st winter. Ringed-bill was at the pier.

Also when to Lough Atalia usual suspects one duck in the distance I could not make out (need to gen up on my ducks) and the strange farmyard hybrid hanging around with the Shelduck. Scaup, teal, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Wigeon.

Troakie I assume you had the Little Gulls at Mutton Island Causeway how close were they and any idea of age.
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Old Monday 4th February 2008, 07:32   #69
Paul Troake
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Troakie I assume you had the Little Gulls at Mutton Island Causeway how close were they and any idea of age.
One was off the Mutton Island outflow, visible at distance from the prom, 2 were on the field by the pier, one of which apparently moved to the adjacent river where it was showing very well in amongst the feeding bhgs. All were possibly adults, though one on the field I didn't get a close look at.

Also looked at Loughnahulla yesterday, but the tide was high, so few waders, and no Forster's. Had 4 scaup there though.

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Old Monday 4th February 2008, 22:21   #70
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John Archer and I had a really enjoyable day around Galway yesterday so thank you all for your helpfulness, particularly Tom Cuffe who took us to the warehouses where the American Herring Gull was in the afternoon.

The American Herring Gull (juvenile) was around Nimmo's mid morning and then in the docks all afternoon. We recorded 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls, 9 Iceland Gulls (2 adults, 1 second-winter and 6 juveniles), 2 adult Ring-billed Gulls and a couple of 1st-winter Little Gulls in the Nimmo's/docks area.

A quick trip to Rossaveal was rewarding - we found a second-winter Kumlien's Gull that on reviewing photos seems to be the bird that's been at Nimmo's this winter. Also 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls and 6 juvenile Iceland Gulls.

The Surf Scoter was still at Silver Strand - although the car park was closed you could park at the bottom of the road.

A few pics: -
1. & 2. juvenile American Herring Gull Nimmo's
3. a couple of Icelands and one Glaucous Gull Rossaveal
4. juvenile Iceland Gull Rossaveal

Cheers and good birding

Rich
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Old Monday 4th February 2008, 22:41   #71
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Nice shots and thanks for the update. Missed the Little Gulls.

The Kumliens that was around Nimmo's recently had only one and half legs. See photos both show the stub 16 December 2007. I original ID it as an Iceland. Did you manage to get a photo?

Tom
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Old Thursday 7th February 2008, 13:31   #72
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Martin Byrnes had 210 Brent in Claddagh field on Monday and 230 this morning including 2 ringed birds.
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Old Thursday 7th February 2008, 17:35   #73
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Would be interesting to get the colours/numbers of the the rings on those birds. I counted 183 on Tuesday but there could have been a few in the dip in the field.

Tim Griffin had the Forster's Tern at Doorus Pier near Kinvara, also a Velvet Scoter today and the Green winged Teal at Bell Habour Co. Clare.

No sign of the American Herring Gulls, the usual white wings and Ring-billed gulls at Nimmo's.
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Old Thursday 7th February 2008, 23:14   #74
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Tom,
I didn't see or get the rings. Was passing and stopped for a quick scan when I met Martin. He was making detailed notes for reporting onwards. You'll have to contact him for more details.
Brendan
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Old Thursday 7th February 2008, 23:31   #75
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Hi Tom

Just responding to your earlier post re:Kumlien's Gulls. I've had a look at the shots of the regular bird now (per your attachments as previously I was going off memory to be honest) and the Rossaveal bird is in fact to my eyes a different bird.

Have a look at the shot by Glyn Sellors on Surfbirds... it's a lot less mature mantle and coverts wise with a darker tail as well as retaining a dark eye and less advanced bill compared to the regular bird.

I put a load of gull shots from the weekend on my website and may well see you again the first weekend of March when I'll be sure to be back in Galway.

Cheers and good birding

Rich
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