Sunday, June 1, 2014

Malin Head and Corncrakes

 A few field sketches and a painting I started since returning.
 I travelled upto Irelands most northerly point, Malin head, for a few days earlier in the week with a friend. Although I travel to Donegal every year it was my first time to visit the Inishowen Penisula. I was extremely lucky with the weather and despite overnight rain on my last night, the clouds cleared and gave way to another day of glorious sunshine on my final morning. 4 corncrakes had been reported over the previous week and we managed to add 3 more singing birds and another flight view of a possible female. I was really impressed with the area, beautiful scenery and fantastic habitat, it certainly is an area I will be back to again.
 This male showed really well every day and stayed loyal to his patch infront of a small cottage. The best views were on my final morning when he sat in the open basking and drying out in the morning light after a night of heavy rain. He spent most of his time sleeping and preening, occasionally singing in responce to one of the neighbouring males. Another bird flew into the grass infront of this male, but didn't seem to elicit any sort of reaction. I didn't see it again once it landed despite watching for 2 more hours!

 After a few hours sleeping and preening, he casually crossed the track we were parked on and began singing in a walled garden of a ruined building. The voice was amplified and I'm sure it was enough to keep all the neighbouring birds at bay!
 This was my only reasonable flight shot of a bird that worked it's way up to the top of a field singing all the way before flying back down to where it started from.

One of the last views of the cottage male, singing away only a matter of feet from the car. 
Most of the time was spent watching corncrakes, but we did look around and try a few areas for migrants and local breeders. Surprisingly not a single eider was seen, a winter black-throated diver was my first of the year. 3 summer great norhterns were probably on there way north, but a red throat could have been a local breeder. A reeling grasshopper warbler was typically elusive, as was a 1st summer cuckoo both singing on our first afternoon only. I heard a golden plover twice but could never locate it, but two pairs of common sandpipers, also my first of the year showed well.

No comments:

Post a Comment