South Dublin Branch - Outing Report

Bluethroat - Ballycotton, Cork (photo: Paul & Andrea Kelly)

Kilcoole, Shankill - 12th September 2021.

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South Dublin members socially distanced at Kilcoole train station car park. Picture by Ronan Browne.

South Dublin Members at Kilcoole, 12th September 2021 (picture: Ronan Browne)

Kilcoole always delivers. This is one of those locations that are ideal for group outings, easy access, good parking facilities, very spacious to facilitate social distancing and five habitats for the price of one: sea, beach, marsh, farmland and distant woodlands, so much to cover.

Sixteen members attended our first outdoor event of the season, with a mix of regulars and new faces. The weather played its part with a cool, pleasant breeze as well as a 'it will rain anytime now' feeling.

However, the potential for rain feeling was quickly replaced by an more immediate concern, how to pose for a group picture in times of social distance? It did take a few minutes to figure that one out, but fortunately in the process we were entertained by Starling and Goldfinch flocks and a female Sparrowhawk getting mobbed by Hooded Crows.

The unmistakable Curlew at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Curlew at Kilcoole , 12thSeptember 2021 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Eventually we got going. Not much happening out to sea other than a few Cormorants, a single Gannet feeding in the distance and some Herring Gulls coming and going. All the action was taking place in the fields where a large group of Curlews (23 to begin with with others appearing later) were closely watched by a few Buzzards.

Woodpigeons were plentiful with single figure Stock Doves among them. A few Linnets and Meadow Pipits were seen also. Closer to us, a Stonechat pair was jumping up and down on the rail track fence, and even closer, a Wheatear gave brilliant views in anticipation of its journey back south to wintering grounds.

A Wheatear, stopping off at Kilcoole on its way south to Africa, a sure sign the Autumn is upon us. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Wheatear at Kilcoole , 12th September 2021 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

We then moved closer to the marsh and were rewarded by great views of a Water Rail feeding along the reeds, and shortly after a Common Snipe landed behind it and blended within the grass. As we moved towards the pools, a Merlin was spotted perching at one pole and subsequently hunting on the farm fields.

Some More Pictures

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More usually heard than seen, a Water Rail greets its public at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures of birds taken on the day by Ronan Browne and Gustavo Zoladz.
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Black-headed Gulls and a juvenile Kittiwake at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Plenty of feeding for Dunlins at Kilcoole. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
Pat spots something interesting and points it out. Picture by Ronan Browne.
The beach, railway line and South Dublin members at Kilcoole with Wicklow Head and mountains in the distance. Picture by Ronan Browne.

In addition to those already mentioned our final tally consisted of Mallards, Wigeons, Teal and two Pintails, Grey Herons and a Little Grebe, Lapwings, Dunlins, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits and a Greenshank, Great Black-backed, Common and Black-headed Gulls and passerines noted were three Ravens, Magpies, Jackdaws, Rooks, Robin, Grey Wagtail and Reed Bunting.

Gustavo Zoladz

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