South Dublin Branch - Outing Report

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

Cabinteely Park - 6th March 2022.

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South Dublin members bathed in sunshine at Cabinteely Park. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

South Dublin Members, Cabinteely Park, 6th March 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

Cabinteely Park is part of the South Branches' home turf and a regular destination for our outings. On this visit, spring was very much in evidence with blue skies and a cool breeze gently blowing. About 60 participants met up in the main car park at 11am where they were greeted by committee member Des Higgins, who led the outing.

Before leaving the car park a Buzzard was seen flying overhead, and later on a pair was observed soaring high over the park. Buzzard became extinct as a breeding species in Ireland during the 1890s and were absent until the early 1930s when a pair bred at Rathlin Island, Antrim. Since then they have steadily spread south and west, and more recently numbers and range have increased dramatically and are becoming a regular sight in open countryside around south Dublin.

A Buzzard watches the coming and going in Cabinteely Park. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Buzzard, Cabinteely Park, 6th March 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

We started off in the woods behind the car park and immediately got onto three Siskins that were feeding on larch cones. Heading west, we worked our way around the trees and gradually got all four tit species, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed. Then Gustavo managed to get us all onto a Treecreeper and some Goldcrests.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been seen in and near the park from time to time, so we briefly headed in to the adjacent Holmwood estate to look for them but without success, but did at least manage to see a Jay. We searched again for woodpeckers near the dog enclosure compound but once again had no luck but did see several Redwing.

Siskin, that most attractive of finches. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Siskin, Cabinteely Park , 6th March 2022 (picture: Gustavo Zoladz)

We finished by walking along the stream that flows into the man-made pond near the Bray Road entrance to the park. On the stream we saw a Grey Wagtail and one lucky person managed to see a Water Rail in the vegetation at the stream's edge, before it dived back in to cover. You need plenty of patience and good luck on your side to see the secretive and skulking Water Rail, a bird more often heard than seen, its distinctive call, resembling a squealing pig, coming from a dense reedbed is often the only evidence of its presence.

Some More Pictures

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Chaffinch in Cabinteely Park. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

Some more pictures of birds taken on the day by Gustavo Zoladz.
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One of the earliest breeding species, a Mistle Thrush in Cabinteely Park. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.
No, despite its appearance this is not a Yellow Wagtail, rather a Grey Wagtail by the stream in Cabinteely Park. Picture by Gustavo Zoladz.

We were delighted to see so familiar faces back with us and the many new faces that we hope to see again. Cabinteely Park has plenty to offer the bird watcher as our tally proves and apart from Kingfisher we managed to see all its specialties on a fine spring day.

Des Higgins

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