Winter can be a great time for bird watching in the West of Ireland. Here are three of the more interesting birds I’ve seen recently.
Great White Egret
This bird does not ‘belong’ in Ireland, let alone the West. However, as I was driving south through Galway and its terrible floods the other day, a large white bird caught my eye in a flooded field at Kilcolgan. I stopped and observed the Great White Egret for 10 minutes, before continuing on my way. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera for one of the most interesting birds I’ve ever seen around these parts, so here is a picture from the UK’s RSPB website.
North West Mayo carries internationally important numbers of this bird during winter, when they migrate south from Greenland. I saw five recently at Blacksod Bay, but, again, didn’t have my camera. The Iniskea Islands hold very large numbers of these birds during winter. Note the pale white / cream face on an otherwise black upper body head and neck. My record for this bird is approximately 980 on The Mullet peninsula.
Again, the North West of Ireland holds important wintering flocks of Brent Geese. I saw three birds on the beach at Dromard, Co. Sligo recently. That day, I did have the camera. Click on the picture to increase its size and note the Brent’s distinctive thin white collar, which is visible on the bird on the left.