Thursday, November 05, 2015

Lough Gill

After heavy overnight rain, our first since arriving, the cloud cleared to produce a glorious autumnal day. Around 2km from our cottage lies Lough Gill, a large shallow lake with alkaline waters. Reports over recent weeks have included both Lesser Scaup and Glossy Ibis, so Dee and I thought we'd spend the morning exploring the area!

View of Lough Gill from the Jetty!
It's actually quite difficult to get close to the Lough, with the exception of the east-side jetty so we spent a little time scoping from various spots along the route. South of the Lough we discovered 35 Whooper Swans feeding in a flooded field, our first of the Autumn and also not mentioned thus far in my posts, the shear numbers of Stonechat here, with one it would seem around every corner. After reaching the jetty it wasn't long before we connected with the Lesser Scaup, in among a group of Tufted Duck and apparently this particular bird has been returning to winter here since 2011. As we continued to scan a couple of Otters came out into the open water before disappearing back into the reedbed and several Gadwall along with three Little Grebe were also noted. After a long wait two Glossy Ibis were spotted in flight, dropping into an area across from the jetty near the sand dunes. As we tried to relocate a large raptor caught the eye, this turned out to be a ringtail Hen Harrier, our first encounter with any large raptors since arriving.

One of a large number of Curlew to be found around the area!
From here we headed off to 'Rough Point' a small stony beach near Ballycurrane, apparently quite good for Purple Sandpiper in winter. A little early it would seem as we dipped on the sandpipers but managed an excellent haul of waders which included some large flocks of Sanderling and also of note a flock of 15 Bar-tailed Godwit. All the usual waders were also encountered, including huge numbers of Curlew and a real treat in the form of two Red-billed Chough, which were feeding next to the roadside. From here we headed off for a late lunch in Tralee.

Red-billed Chough - Always a treat to see!

We've been extremely lucky with the weather thus far! Another 18C today

Another Chough photo to end!