|1st Winter Ortolan Bunting Inishbofin Sept 2012|
|Sanderling at East End Bay Inishbofin|
|Turnstone in flight|
This changed somewhat when I reviewed the two images on the laptop and confirmed my suspicion that it was after all an Ortolan Bunting and a 1st Winter one to boot. Thanks must also go to Ronan McLaughlin for verifying it for me. A first for Inishbofin and Galway. I then went and put out some seed at the side of the road between the Dolphin Hotel and the cottage I was staying at, in the hope it would come and feed on it.
|Ortolan Bunting Feeding on Seed|
|Most Beautiful Beach in Ireland|
|Dermot Breen photographing Ortolan Bunting|
Each morning I would head off early and walk down to the graveyard to see if any new migrants had arrived. Only on the last day was there a steady stream of Meadow Pipits flying through the valley. I tried to get a few shots of birds landing on the gravestones.
|Meadow Pipit on Gravestone|
|Stonechat on Gravestone|
|Blackbird overlooking the ruins of the 14th century St.Colman's Abbey|
|Ortolan Bunting hiding in the hedge|
|Ortolan Bunting on New Zealand Flax|
|Ortolan Bunting on the tarmac|
The weather was wonderful and I walked parts of the island that I hadn't covered before. In particular the ridge on the south side of the island that leads to Cromwell's Barracks. The views from the top of the hill were stunning. Unfortunately the tide was against us to get to see the Barracks but there will always be another time.
|View of Inish Lyon from Knock looking towards Maumturk Mountains|
On thursday there was no sign of the bunting and there were very strong winds all day and the occasional showers which made finding anything difficult. Every time there was movement it was usually one of the many resident Robins on the island. One in particular was so engrossed in eating a blackberry that I was within arm's reach of it and too close to get a photo. There were also quite a few young swallows sitting on the barbwire fences waiting to be fed by their parents. In Regina's garden in the house we were staying there were a family of five Blackbirds and three Song Thrush. In the afternoon we headed out to the sea watching site in the West and observed Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Manx Shearwaters and a single Sabine's Gull.
|Robin on Inishbofin|
|Song Thrush in Regina's Garden|
On the friday I decided to go to Leachta Beag one of the high points of the island at Middlequarter and see if there were any birds up by the airfield. There were three Lapwing, a Heron, a few Wheatear and Meadow Pipits. The views from the top were amazing and we could see in the distance the waves breaking on the Stags. So we set off to get a closer look. When we got there the rollers were coming in whipped up by the previous days wind and were crashing into the rocks. You could feel the power. Sometimes a wave would crash into the Stags and water would be shot a hundred feet into the air. Spectacular. My love of the island was reaffirmed.
|Waves crashing onto Inishbofin|
|Wave Crashing into the Stags|
|Wave Crashing into the Stags of Inishbofin|
|The Stags from the South|
On the way back I saw in the distance a wader feeding in the short grass and was puzzled as it seemed to have a bill too short for Curlew or Whimbrel but on approach it was obviously a juvenile Whimbrel. I then wondered whether it might be a Hudsonian Whimbrel brought over with the recent gales, but as it took off the rump was obviously very white so excluded that possibility.
Sadly that was the end of my short break and on the way home Anthony McGeehan texted me to say he had just received a few copies of his book that morning and did I want to pick one up from him on my way back. So I met him outside Sprucefield McDonalds at eleven o'clock at night and received my copy before he headed south. It is absolutely superb but there will be a blogpost about that at a later date.
|Birds through Irish Eyes|