Monday, 16 February 2015

Exoneration From Education

I finished my mocks last friday and now am on my mid term break. I am delighted to have a week off and will spend nearly all of it working the local patch. This year I am taking place in a competition called the patchwork challenge, originally a British competition but there are now a few patches in Ireland too. It operates by awarding points for different species, the rarer the bird the more points you get. My patch extends from Barna pier all the way to Lough Atalia, and hopefully i'll see some good birds. The blog for the irish league is at    
 I was very pleased to see the returning Forster's tern at Nimmo's pier at a recent outing with the Galway branch of birdwatch Ireland. I first saw this bird back in 2012, but I hadn't seen it for over two years until two weeks back. I was even happier to see the bird because I had been looking at Nimmo's for many weeks but I was always there at the wrong time. This bird is at least 12 years old. The first records of this American species were in 2003 as far as I know, but there was a record of a Forster's tern at Nimmo's for a few months in the late nineties. This bird spends time on both sides of Galway bay, at Nimmo's pier and at Doorus near Kinvara. Many birders think this could also be the bird that is seen annually at louth wexford and Dublin, although this cannot be verified. I managed to phone-scope a rubbish photo of the bird, but it gives the general impression so i'll post a link here 
    Generally, birding is quite quiet in the County at the minute, especially compared to this time last year. For example, I have yet to see a white winger this year, and was at waterside for the anniversary of last years slaty-backed gull. Unfortunately it was a no show. The only decent bird around is an American Wigeon in the north of the county found by Dermot Breen. Heres hoping that the rest of the month is better!
   I am also delighted to announce that I have received 1st place in the national biodiversity data centre photo competition for my photo of an otter with an eel taken last summer. The blogpost for that day is here:
I also had a red deer image commended, both entries, and all the others can be seen on the NBDC website here.

Another lovely patch Purple Sandpiper
Until next time!


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