Trip reports

Field Trip to Point of Ayr

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Nine members met Estelle Hughes in the carpark and immediately listed curlew, skylark, goldfinch,
house sparrow, blackbird, robin, black-headed and herring gull and a large flock of Canada geese.
We set off in warm sunshine up the bank and were very happy to discover high tide was due at 11.45 - perfect timing!
Sizeable flocks of linnet, goldfinch and skylark were feeding on the saltmarsh plants, while on an inland pool black-tailed godwit, gadwall, teal, wigeon, tufted and mallard
were gathered.

A departing willow warbler and chiffchaff were feeding in the shrubby hedge and kestrel and buzzard hunted over the saltmarsh.

Luckily, we had the new 'backless' hide to ourselves as the tide pushed thousands of oystercatcher, curlew (in greater numbers than most of us had seen before), black-tailed godwit, redshank and little egret ashore, with one or two grey, golden, ringed plover and lapwing.

An impressive number of shelduck, teal and pintail joined them on the saltmarsh and there was much agitated movement as a very high tide forced those on the edge to escape the rising water.
Sadly, no birds of prey came to hunt, but we suspect a peregrine may have caused a flurry of birds to take flight at one point.

A female wheatear perched right outside the hide affording excellent views as we ate our lunch.

We walked through a very unproductive area of scrub and trees, adding one more species, a pair of reed bunting before cresting the dunes onto the beach, hoping for some eventful sea-watching.

Large numbers of people and dogs prevented any waders from feeding along the shoreline and there were only distant views of cormorant, oystercatcher and gulls on the exposed sandbanks.
Meanwhile, out at sea, a sizeable raft of common gulls made a fitting end to a very enjoyable day with a total of 50 species recorded.