Monday, June 2, 2014

North Bull Island

Today was the Summer Bank Holiday here in Ireland. It serves as the unofficial start of Summer here and it even gave my wife an extra day off.  That made me able to go out birding with a local birder, Paul.  A good friend of mine from Albuquerque had put me in touch with someone from Ireland that she had birded with in New Mexico before.  He suggested that we meet in North Dublin and head to the coast.
Our first stop was Bull Island. It is a low, grassy island that is connected to the mainland with a causeway and contains at least one golf course.  It's also the home of a very important wintering spot for lots of different birds and we'd be visiting in the off-season.  And apparently the entire island is man-made.  When Dublin Harbor was dredged out decades ago, the silt got piled in one spot and an island was made.  Right by the car I was able to see lifer Shelducks and Great Cormorants, along with some Great Black-Backed Gulls and some Herring Gulls too.  But the bird that I think we'd see the most of by the end of the day were little Meadow Pipits, like this one sitting on a fence post.

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit - Bull Island, Ireland
Paul remarked that he was hearing a Skylark.  I had wanted to see one since I read about Kenn Kaufman seeing them in Washington state in Kingbird Highway.  But our first look was one way up in the air singing away.

Skylark - Bull Island, Ireland
I was fairly excited, and then one flew down and landed on a tuft of grass right beside us and I got an even better look at it.  Their little crest is a good field-mark.

Skylark - Bull Island, Ireland
The weather looked like rain during the majority of our walk, but then the Sun would make an appearance, and one of those times I got to see my first Irish rainbow.

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We made our way to the shoreline where we saw some more Gulls and even some Oystercatchers, but nothing photo-worthy.

Bull Island Shore
Bull Island Shoreline - Dublin, Ireland
We did get to see lots of butterflies in the tall grass, like this great looking blue one.

Small Blue
Small Blue - Bull Island, Ireland
We made it back to our starting point and added a few more birds to our list, but nothing exciting.  And the weather was cloudy again.  Our next stop would be Howth Head and nesting seabirds.  But I'm going to save that for another post in the interest of not making these too long.


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