Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When Irish Eyes are Smilin'

Ireland is NOT part of the UK. It is located in Europe and part of the European Union. They like to remind you of that fact even though the island is situated right next to England in the North Atlantic Ocean. I'm in Dublin for a conference this week. We took some time at the beginning of the trip to go sightseeing around the countryside.

Sam and I drove to Howth which is a little peninsula near Dublin with a fishing village. We found a few birds. Hooded crows were everywhere.

Hooded Crow
This is a pipit. I think it is a Meadow Pipit on a rock but another birder reported it as a Rock Pipit so I changed my report to Rock Pipit.

White Wagtails are adorable.

White Wagtail
Fun fact - It's a long way to Tipperary, but we managed to get there in our rental car.

It's a long way
We went to Cashel Rock to see an old ruined church and learned that one of the archbishops who ran the church was a McGrath (my step-sister's married name). Nothing to be so proud of though. Our tour guide told us that even though Miler McGrath was a Catholic Bishop, we switched to Protestant, had 2 wives, 12 legitimate children and 37 illegitimate children all while amassing a fortune in real estate. Some bishop huh? Here is his tomb.

Miler McGrath
The only birds that we saw at "the rock" were Jackdaws. They owned the place.


Irish Cross

We returned the rental car and I did some more birding by commuter train. First, heading down south to Dalkey to see Killiney Hill. This Rook was a target bird for the trip. I saw alot of them but this one hung around for a photo.

Another target bird for me was Stone Chat. I lucked into a pair down along the coast in a city park. He posed with these flowers.

Stone Chat
Europe has a lot of tits. Not the breast kind, but the chickadee kind. Here is a Blue Tit hanging on the train platform.

Blue Tit
On the train ride back to the city, I noticed a big flock of shorebirds from the window. Naturally, I jumped off the train at the next stop and was rewarded by 2 types of Godwits. This is Black-tailed Godwit showing his black tail.

Black-tailed Godwit
 The flock was mixed with Dunlin, Red Knot, and Common Red-shanks.

Dunlin, Red-shanks, Red Knot
I must admit that on the way back to Dublin, I fell asleep on the train and ended up way north of the city. That has never happened to me before! Everything was fine and I made it to the Guinness brewery tour with my boss for lunch.

All in all, I ended up with a good birding trip and 4 or 5 new life birds on my list.