Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Galway Feb 08

American Herring Gull (Juv/1st winter

Easily picked out from from the crowd, thanks to its extensive brown smudging on the breast and Belly, and distinctive tail pattern (wide dark tail band with prominantly barred rump) The head shape of the bird was noticably different to the surrounding Herring Gulls, with the bill being somewhat longer, whilst the crown usually appeared flatter, making it look closer in shape to an Argentatus Herring Gull.

American Herring Gull (Adult)

Given the erattic appearances of this bird (Its regular daytime haunts appeared at the time to be unknown) I was very fortunate to catch up with it on my last day. This is the same bird that has been returning to Galway for the last 5 or so years, allowing many peaople to study its gradual change in plumage. Given the very small number of adult American Herring Gulls that have been positively identified in Britain, this bird looks as though it will be an educational experience for a good number of birders in the UK!

Iceland Gulls (2 1st winter and adult)

At least 15 along the river between the town and Nimmos Pier... great birds.

Ring-billed Gull

One of two adults present

Forsters Tern

The bird that I most wanted to see! This was always in my top 5 list of wanted species, alongside Ivory Gull (1st winter) Snowy Owl, Red eyed Vireo and, oddly enough, Lesser Canada Goose! (Preferably a Richardsons with a hugh flock of Barnacles or Pinkies) It gave excellent views over the first 2 days, normally sharing the rocks with a handfull of overwintering Sandwich terns, showing particularly well at low tide on day 2, when the top picture was taken. The bottom of the 4 pictures being my favourite photo of the trip...

If you click on the above picture (all have been resised so they can be viewed at a slightly larger size) you may just be able to make out the 2 dark blobs as female Surf Scoters... A bonus find in the bay just off of the pier. Showing unusually well, at fairly close range, these birds were both different to the other female that was allready present off of silverstrand, just a bit further along the coast.

Great Northern Diver

One of several seen around the town... a very showy individual!

In the fishing docks, alongside the Juv American Herring Gull, and its regular haunt.

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