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A Report from

Southern Ireland Clonakilty, Kinsale, and Cork, July 25th to Aug 2nd 2003,

Christopher Matthews

(Including the Ferry Crossing Holyhead to Dublin)

Weather - Mostly warm but overcast, and scattered showers. A few days of rain, then a few very good sunny days. Slight Breeze

Although I was not going primarily to Birdwatch in Ireland for a week any chance I have to explore new countries, I take what chance I can to observe the local Wildlife.  I was touring as a groupie for my Fathers Ceilidh Band for the week in and around Clonakilty venturing to Cork and Kinsale later in the week. I took some time out along with my Father on our day off to see what was about on the local Estuary, cataloguing any birds we saw extra as we continued through our daily schedule.

The Bird List below shows what was seen, and where:

Kestrels. - Hovering by the roadside mostly throughout our minibus drive from Dublin to Clonakilty and throughout our stay

Magpies. - Common through England scattered, and seen occasionally in Ireland.

Fulmar. - Common over the Irish Sea on the Crossing from Holyhead to Dublin.

Arctic Terns. - Common following the Ferry to Dublin

Black Headed Gulls. - Common throughout the Countryside, and around the Coastline.

Herring Gulls. - Very Common in Kinsale Harbour, and around the Clonakilty Estuary.

Great Black Backed Gulls. - Common on the Estuary far out in small groups of seven to ten, and Clonakilty Bay.

Cormorants. - Occasionally seen Wing drying in the estuary or at the mouth of the River Bandon into Kinsale.

Grey Heron. - Very common seen as we drove to Kinsale. Seen in numbers of four to six in Courtmacsherry Bay.

Little Egret. -  Two pairs were resident on the Estuary at Clonakilty Bay as we drove to, and from our holiday cottages.

Spoonbill. - Seen one very quickly as we drove into Clonakilty in the pools on other side of the road to Clonakilty that is prone to flooding at High Tides.

Knot. - Seen in good numbers across the Estuary

Golden Plover. - Seen in flocks of 30+ flying on and off the Estuary

Redshank. -  Very common on the Estuary and flying around the fields around the cottages (Possible nest sites)

Curlew. -  Common across the moors, and on the Estuary Numbers were strong. One moment we caught glimpse of Curlew, which made us think it could have been Whimbrel. We kept our eyes open for possible sightings.

Black tailed Godwits. -  Very common on the Estuary

Oystercatcher.  -  Frequently visiting the fields around the cottages at High Tide, common on the Estuary.

Turnstone. -  Very common in Kinsale Harbour

Ringed Plover. -  Common in Kinsale Harbour

Dunlin. -  Common on the high water mark in Clonakilty Estuary near the Campsite.

Common Sandpiper. - Common on Kinsale Harbour and River mouth of the Banton.

Mute Swan.  - Common on the Bandon, and in Courtmacsherry Bay.

Little Grebe.  - Frequent on the pools

Moorhen. - Frequent on the pools

Lapwing. - Frequent on the watermarks of the Estuary and in the Fields at High Tide.

Stonechat. - Seen frequently on the other access road into Clonakilty as we walked complete circle almost entire outer rim of the Estuary

Other Birds seen were Wheatear, and enough Hooded Crows to last me a lifetime, as we don't see them in the North east of England.

Robins, Blackbirds, Starlings, Pied Wagtails, House Sparrows, Meadow Pipits, Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Linnets, Blue Tits.

Wren's were very common singing their hearts out along the road verges.

Other Crows included Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, and Rooks. Collared Dove's were frequent along telegraph Poles, and large numbers of Feral Pigeons darted back and forth across Clonakilty. Woodpigeons were common in small groups.

A Dipper was seen on the river as we drove to Cork on the Thursday, and again seen over the fast flowing Bandon in places. Grey Wagtails flitted here and there in pairs.

The usual summer sightings of Swallows, Swifts, Sand Martins, and occasional House Martins, in the Towns of Clonakilty, and Kinsale. Also seen in the City of Cork.

Total for the Week was 52, which I thought was quite canny considering, I didn't know the area very well, we hadn't time to plan more, and we were limited with the minibus and the rest of the Band as to how far we could venture. It was a Successful Tour both for Northumberland Fayre in the region. It was also a successful little Birdwatching week taking in to account the splendid Countryside that is the South coast of Ireland. My Family roots lie in this beautiful part of the world, and it makes me feel so at home not to mention the hospitality from the wonderful people. So warm and welcoming.


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