8 Jun 2022

8 Jun 22 - Birding On The Irish Mullet

After seeing the Least Tern, I had decided to return for a second attempt to get good views of the American Black Duck at Cross Lough on The Mullet on the North West Irish coast. The weather was predicted to get wet & windy as a front moved through on my first evening in Ireland and it was probably better as an option, than to look for Cryptic Wood White. Having had no success in the last hour of light on the first evening, I was hoping the wind & rain would have easied by dawn. The disadvantage of sleeping in the car was I heard the wind & rain was still hitting the car at dawn. The advantage was I could turn off the alarm & get some more sleep.
Cross Lough (12 Mar 22)
Cross Lough: The Lough is surrounded by these Machair fields
The rain had finally stopped by mid-morning, but there was still a strong wind blowing. I started looking for the American Black Duck along the shoreline, while brewing the first cuppa tea with the car kettle. It looked like most of the Ducks present on the previous evening had disappeared to feed locally or were skulking out of site in the reed edges. Eventually, I found a road that overlooked the Southern shore of the Lough, but I still no joy. Perhaps that was where it had been seen from the previous afternoon. I was glad I had seen it back on the Egyptian Vulture trip, even if it was only a flight view into this Southern section. I have only seen two previously in the UK: at Aber & on Tresco with both sightings in 1981.
A very breezy Atlantic, looking North from the beach
The Atlantic, looking South from the beach
The New York coastline is clearly a long way away
Cross Lough is a lovely place to go Birding as it resembles the Uist islands. I saw several breeding Wheatears.
Wheatear: Male
Wheatear: There were a pair of Wheatears around this small stone wall. I saw the male go inside the wall, so I suspect they were feeding young still in a nest in the wall
Wheatear: The Male showing how well camouflaged they are in the local stony walls
Wheatear: The equally well camouflaged female
This juvenile Wheatear has already fledged closer to the Lough.
Wheatear: Juvenile. I was pleased to see this recently fledged & independent juvenile Wheatear. Really hoping one year to see a juvenile Wheatear this young in the Isle of Purbeck to confirm local breeding
Lesser Black-backed Gull: My favourite regular UK Gull species
There were a reasonable number of Northern Marsh Orchids around the Lough.
Northern Marsh Orchid
Another Northern Marsh Orchid
It was now mid-afternoon and I had to start driving back to Rosslare. There was time for some brief roadside stops for some more Irish roadside art. Having always been a fan of traditional Irish Folk music, I couldn't resist stopping to take this photo.
Traditional Irish Folk band in a small housing development in Swinford
The impressive four Tullamore statues were along another of the main roads.
One of the four Roadside Tullamore Saints
Another of the four Roadside Tullamore Saints
A third of the four Roadside Tullamore Saints
I managed to get to the Wexford Waterfowl Centre just outside Rosslare to find the reserve shut & heavily secured to ensure you couldn't enjoy it out of hours: which was very disappointing. I did manage to see a little bit of the reserve by looking from the seawall & saw my second Irish Hare of the trip. It was getting dark & time to find somewhere to park the Focus Hotel for the night.
An Irish Hare record photo