Wandering Whimbrels

     ” How do you tell a Whimbrel from a Curlew at a distance?” my friend asked.         Whimbrel flocks pass over the west coast of Ireland on their way to breed in Iceland. This is the second time I have seen the early May flock around Rosbeg. Smaller than Curlew (more likely to be in a spring flock, I think) they make a distinctive noise, very different from Curlew. The Whimbrels seem to post sentinals to warn of risk. One bird holds its head up above the skyline while the rest forage for grubs in damp pastures. Whimbrels are known as Maybirds in Ireland, around for a short time and then gone with the wind. They also have  striped heads, unlike their Curlew relatives.

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Whimbrel showing head stripes.

This small flock is working a field close to the sea at Rosbeg, within sight of Tramore and Sheskinmore.

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Foraging flock.

A walk or two around Sheskinmore reserve revealed that this year’s “spectacular” is primroses. Vast clumps are on the cliffs around the deserted-looking ravens’nest at the far end of Tramore.

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Primroses at Tramore.

More are to be found at the top of the Mullyvea slope, where we were listening for the cuckoos but had no luck with that quest. However, we have heard that the Dawros Head lane has at least one cuckoo calling.

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No Cuckoos Calling!

Around the headland, over the estaury, at one of my favourite gullies above the sand, we found the Early Purple Orchids, growing with a few Primroses on the short turf. Once you see one of these orchids your eye can pick out a lot more.

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Early Purple Orchid

A close-up shows the beauty of the flower spike. I just hope I have the right species.

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Early Purple Orchid spike.

I found this moth caterpillar , a Drinker I think.

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Drinker.

Last of all, my fave picture of the Whimbrel, keeping watch.

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Whimbrel.

I hope the reader enjoys the photos of Rosbeg and Sheskinmore in a very late Spring.

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One thought on “Wandering Whimbrels

  1. Pingback: A Few Days in May | Friends of Sheskinmore

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