Wednesday, 30 March 2011
March contained mostly local birding around the uni. Highlights included: 1-2 Long-eared Owls at an undisclosed site, 39 Black Grouse, 5+ Hawfinch, and Great Grey Shrike.The only trip out of Cumbria was to Ireland with Dan Pointon, and Mark & Ashley Powell on the 14th. The Indian House Crow at Cobh, Co. Cork failed to show despite an extensive search of the area by midday so we cut our loses and headed off to Rossbeigh, Co. Kerry. Ash Powell soon located the prize a little along from where we had parked fairly close in - the Stejneger's (White-winged) Scoter displayed all features but unfortunately never flew so we could view the full extent of the white in wing. However it was close enough to view its peaking head further back that steeps down gradually to it's prominently angled knob that appeared to hang over the bill, which seperates it from the North American form Deglandii and Velvet Scoter.The following day (15th) saw us take the laborious drive North to Termoncarragh Lake, Co. Mayo for the wintering American Coot which took some work locating. But Ash Powell came up with the goods again. We eventually got closer and could see all features including the white undertail coverts and lack of frontal shield. A hybrid Blue-winged Teal x Shoveler was also on the lake. Back down to Co. Galway that evening we located the Forster's Tern (seen for the 3rd consecutive year) and the usual adult Ring-billed Gull at Nimmo's Pier.The next morning (16th) there was no further sign of the Forster's Tern but a second Ring-billed Gull joined yesterdays bird. We then decided to try again for the House Crow in Cobh. On arrival; within seconds we could hear a distinctive squawk coming from the pier - and almost immediately caught sight of the bird on telegraph wires. I loved watching this bird - this bird has character and will no doubt be here for a very long time!! The rest of the day was spent looking for our own stuff around Great Island but all we could muster up were some white-winged Gulls. Neither of which I saw. Again thanks are in order to Mark for doing all the driving!