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Where to find rares in October

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Old Monday 4th September 2017, 18:00   #1
Surrey_Ed
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Where to find rares in October

I'm thinking of doing a long weekend in south/west Ireland this October.

Bar Cape Clear, where would people recommend going in order to have a chance of finding a tasty American vagrant? Are Galley Head and Mizen Head good shouts?

I'd be interested to know if there are any other sites with good track records, or any that perhaps have untapped potential.

Apologies if I'm asking obvious questions, not familiar with the best sites...

Thanks in advance.
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Old Wednesday 6th September 2017, 06:19   #2
Pariah
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Originally Posted by Surrey_Ed View Post
I'm thinking of doing a long weekend in south/west Ireland this October.

Bar Cape Clear, where would people recommend going in order to have a chance of finding a tasty American vagrant? Are Galley Head and Mizen Head good shouts?

I'd be interested to know if there are any other sites with good track records, or any that perhaps have untapped potential.

Apologies if I'm asking obvious questions, not familiar with the best sites...

Thanks in advance.
Galley Head, Mizen Head, Dursey Island and it's mainland neighbours of garinish and firkeel, and loop head are all great sites when looking for American vagrants. They have different levels of hardship to them however.

Galley head is the easiest. It doesn't take a massive amount of time to work Dirk bay and shite lane, they two most productive locations. Once these are done you can look at branching out along the road to the lighthouse and adjacent fields, which are likely under watched.
Has the advantages of good seawatching in South westerlies and nearby estuaries at Rosscarbery and Clonakilty for waders.

Mizen is a lot of work, and a lot of cover and terrain. Certain areas, arguably the best areas, are private and off limits, but there's plenty of scope to find birds in what's left.
You likely won't cover every habitat you wish to in a single day. Also has good seawatching and sometimes waders on lissagriffin lake, galley cove beach.

Dursey is very hard work. Cable car onto the island and then hiking uphill through the villages. Not for those of Ill health or infirmity. You have a more limited window on the island before you must come off in the evening.

Loop has lots of habitat for finding birds, plenty to keep you busy for a whole day, and the Bridges of Ross for seawatching if passerines, waders are quiet.

Best to get your hands on Eric Dempsey's "Where to find birds in Ireland" for more detailed info.

Owen
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Old Wednesday 6th September 2017, 12:40   #3
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Don't forget the waders. Nearctic species more numerous than passerines, even if they do peak earlier in September. I don't know the areas as well as Owen but Ballycotton would be a good shout, and in Co Kerry the various bays near the end of the Dingle peninsula like Bantry and Ventry; Blennerville too and Carrahane Strand near Ardfert - even I've turned up a few rare birds at the latter on my handful of visits!
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Old Wednesday 6th September 2017, 14:08   #4
Surrey_Ed
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Thank you both for your replies.

Pariah - amazing info, just what I was after. I've got Dempsey's (excellent) book.

I'm now torn between Galley Head/somewhere in Cork, or venturing out to Kerry.
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Old Thursday 7th September 2017, 04:47   #5
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Originally Posted by Surrey_Ed View Post
Thank you both for your replies.

Pariah - amazing info, just what I was after. I've got Dempsey's (excellent) book.

I'm now torn between Galley Head/somewhere in Cork, or venturing out to Kerry.
If it's vagrant passerines you're after, Kerry is a big undertaking. Both the Dingle and Iveragh peninsulas are dense with cover, wall to wall fuschia. I have worked the tip of Dingle on occasion, with some success, but I found it to be extreme hardship compared to headlands in Cork.

If it's a late wader season, then yes, the sites like Black Rock, carrahane, blennerville, castlegregory, dingle, smerwick, inch etc are all worth working, but generally are best in September.

My advice would be to aim for the first two weeks in October and simply play things by ear. You won't find accommodation difficult to find in October, so there's no real need to pin yourself down to one location (though of course, it can be cheaper to rent self catering than go the bnb route).

See where the birds are turning up and make your decisions based on that.

If your intention is to work solely for yourself, trying to find your own stuff, I would go with the Loop Head option. It's generally not worked as much as the Cork headlands, and offers seawatching as well. You can move up along the coast line, north as far as lahinch or east even as far as Shannon airport (which you can also conveniently fly to), or ferry over to Kerry if waders are in play.

Bare in mind that things sometimes go the other direction entirely. Sometimes the birds are turning up in Mayo or Galway, so Loop is a decent halfway point should you wish to run there.

Owen
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