Tolka Branch Trip Report

 County Wicklow - 19th May 2012

by Rosemary Doyle

On a nippy May morning, over 20 Tolka Members met at Glendalough Upper car park and were greeted by the tamest Chaffinches in Ireland.

We set off to scour the lake for Goosanders.  Alas two male Mallards were the only creatures causing ripples on the mirrored lake.  Up to eight Swallows swooped and skimmed over the lake. 

A soft drizzle prevailed as we strolled along the path towards Poulanass Waterfall.  We were amidst the oak woodlands, and the birds, having more sense than to be out in the poor conditions, proved hard to find.   Eventually, an "lbj" (little brown jobby") was spotted by a few of the gang and we spent many patient long minutes until we caught sight of it again and it was identified as a Spotted Flycatcher.  He didn't stick around for long but by that stage, an elusive Jay was keeping our attention.  Meanwhile behind us Treecreepers were actively racing up and down and all around some craggy and not-so-craggy trees.  There were lots of Blue Tits flitting about also.  Further along the trail we heard the hurried high pitch song of Goldcrest and later we had good views of a Goldcrest foraging bugs from a holly bush at the river.  Along the river, we spotted a male Blackcap, Blackbirds, Song ThrushRobin, and a male and female Mistle Thrush at a nest.  A Grey Wagtail was heard here. 

Back at the Interpretive Centre a Pied Wagtail busied himself finding the best perching spot to watch us pass by.  Among the trees on the way back to the car-park, several Long-tailed Tits, a Coal Tit and Blue Tits restlessly searched for food.  We had great views of a mixed group of Siskin. Collard Dove and Rooks were also present.  A Raven was spotted being mobbed by Jackdaws in the nearby grass clearing.  

Red Kite at Avoca village (Photo by Vincent Hall)

After regrouping for our packed lunch in the car park, we then made our way to Avoca in the hope to see the Red Kites that Dr Marc Ruddock had spoken so enthusiastically about at our Thursday talk in the Botanic Gardens on the 17th of May 2012.  We weren't disappointed.  Five minutes after stepping out of the car a beautiful Red Kite flew closely over our heads.  Now that's what I call birding-to-order - no hanging about.  A few moments later we had two Red Kites to study in all their glory.  When we had our fill of that magnificence, we headed back over to Coronation Wood.

With the weather improving... so too was the birding.  On the road toward Sally's gap we saw about thirty Crossbills. At Coronation Wood we had two Whinchat and Grey Wagtail.

Another good day in Wicklow.

Crossbill near Sally's Gap (Photo by Vincent Hall)

Whinchat at Coronation Wood (Photo by Vincent Hall)





Copyright, Tolka Branch, Birdwatch Ireland 2006