Monday, 14 July 2014

Wicklow Wildlife

I spent a few days in Wicklow last week while on a family holiday. The journey to Dublin was good with two buzzards on the motorway to Dublin. I still haven't seen a buzzard in Galway so these were year ticks for me. When we reached our accommodation I went looking around the area and heard a yellowhammer singing. A lifer for me, not a bird to be found in Galway much anymore after a 61% decline across Ireland.
    Their song, to those who haven't heard it is quite characteristic and often described in the rhythm "a little bit of bread and no cheese"  with the cheese being the long drawn out note at the end.
    That evening my Mum brought me to Kilcoole to visit the Little tern colony. The terns were flying over the colony and incubating chicks and eggs. We met the one of the day wardens at the colony, Andrew Power who was very dedicated and knowledgeable. The wardens have to be on site 24/7 to moniter and protect the breeding terns for the summer months-not an easy thing to do but definitely something i'd like to do when I'm older. Alongside the little terns there were breeding ringed plover and oystercatcher, and lapwing to be seen.
    On Tuesday we visited the Birdwatch Ireland shop and headquarters in Kilcoole for a look around. Later on in the day I heard a Garden Warbler in Powerscourt Gardens, but it unfortunately moved off before I could see it.
    Wednesday was certainly the most action packed day of the holidays. It was our last full day in Wicklow so me and my mum again got up early to head to the East Coast Nature Reserve (or ECNR) near Newcastle. It is a well maintained reserve but probably a bit quiet at this time of the year. We went on a few of the woodland boardwalks and this time I managed to see a Garden warbler along with other birds like blackcap, willow warbler etc. We had a look in a few of the hides but there was little to be seen apart from a few emperor dragonflies and 2 kestrels.
    Walking on a boardwalk through fen I managed to hear a Reed Warbler, another first for me. And I also found out why the predominant vegetation in the fen; saw sedge, gets its name. (hint: its edges are like razors... Oh and I was wearing shorts...). There were lots of butterflies to be seen as well including Ringlets, Meadow Browns And some Gatekeepers. When we returned from the ECNR the whole family went to Glendalough. I was hoping for woodpeckers here but despite some helpful advice and lots of searching they weren't to be found. There were some nice Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies along a river though. Finally after leaving Glendalough we went to Avoca to see some Red Kites. I saw about 4 or five of these impressive raptors around the bridge in Avoca. They didn't come as close as I would have liked but all the same it was nice to see them.

Little tern with sandeel

A little bit of bread and no cheeese.... A male yellowhammer

Very odd looking speckled wood. Was even more orange than in photo

Beaautiful Demoiselle male at Glendalough
Beautiful Demoiselle male at Glendalough

 The river Glendalough and the round tower

Red kite

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