Apr 112011

Wood Warbler on Galley Head, Co. Cork

Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

Our house was complete chaos last weekend. The twins and the little one had their friends over on Saturday for a sleepover (more accurately described as a stay-awake-over). That meant that bright and early on Sunday we had a houseful of over-tired, hyperactive girls ranging in age from seven to ten.

It was mayhem. Then a friend of Sally Ann’s arrived with her daughter, and the female/male quotient hit critical mass. This lone male had to escape of risk terminal meltdown!

And so, somehow, me, the binoculars, the bird book and the camera ended up in the car. Quarter-of-an-hour later I was standing at the salubriously dubbed “Shite Lane” crossroads on Galley head, looking at a lovely example of a wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix).

Don’t you just love it when things work out?

I had a quick scoot along the Top Lane too, seeing as I was already in the vacinity. Secretly I wanted to bag a hoopoe (love that name… but the scientific name is even more impressive. Upupa epops anyone?)  on Galley, just to annoy @CorkBirdNews AKA Galley Head Birding, who was away from his home patch at the time. But no such luck, and he’s back now, so opportunity lost.

Did get some fantastic views of a peregrine on the deck (but crap photos – too far away for my poxy glass, and a mist rolling in didn’t help), and lots of hyperactive choughs mobbing a very vociferous raven. It was a happy reminder that great birding, even in the midst of spring-migrant-mania, isn’t all about rarities.

Peregrine on the deckLots of choughs aroundChoughs just after dive bombing the ravenRaven, trying hard to stay one step ahead of the choughs

That said, a few woodchat shrikes (Lanius senator) have been cropping up further east and west along the Cork coast, which makes me think there must be at least one or two lurking on nearby headlands too – Galley, Toe Head, or along the coast in between.

I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled… or failing that will monitor @CorkBirdNews on Twitter and let a more competent / dedicated / single / child free / retired birders find one for me Winking smile.