The branch outing to Dundalk was held on a crispy midday meet at the docks. It was about mid tide but a good number of waders were feeding away on the mud flats. This area is great for close up views of teal which are there in abundance. Other species included redshank, greenshank, bar tailed and black tailed godwits, grey heron, cormorant, grey plover, curlew, lapwing, mallard, shelduck and even mute swans. A seal pup popped up every now and then.
We went up river to the other side of the bridge where the prize was seven snipe feeding away along with gulls galore at various stages in their maturity. A challenge for even experienced birdwatchers !!.There was definitely black headed gulls and common gulls. The little egret and ruff added to the list.
Out at Giles Quay the red breasted mergansers, great northern diver, common scoter, guillemot and a razorbill were good sightings on a nice calm sea.On the shore a small flock of ringed plover with some sanderling and dunlin kept moving about. The turnstones were busy and well camouflaged. There were linnets in the nearby fields and the starling was also enjoying a bath. Lots of brent geese and other birds were on the move.
As the tide was reaching its peak we went to Lurgangreen. The number of birds here were extraordinary, I would not envy anyone trying to count them. They included oystercatchers, brent geese, greylag geese, godwits, lapwing and golden plover. Some shelduck,wigeon and a few goldeneye. A buzzard kept an eye on things and a hunting peregrine resulted in great numbers of birds on the wing. Watching the flocks twist and turn in the evening sunset was spectacular.
While the glossy ibis and long billed dowitcher were not around, overall a very enjoyable day was had by all.A special thanks to our very knowledgeable guide for the day – Elizabeth. Without her a few species would have went undetected.
photos: Elizabeth Mc Kenna
Grey heron and little egret
Sanderling and ringed plover at Gyles Quay
Sunset at Gyles quay