Around us, we have mostly fields, beside the seascape of Dunmanus Bay. There, and along the bay (opposite the landscaped gardens along the road.) Or there where it has been left to be a little friendlier to birds. the planting is mostly scrub like Gorse, and Heather.
I've always thought that it would be perfect habitat for Stonechat, (Saxicola rubicola) and at one time, I did think I heard one near the coastal road. Getting confirmation was my next goal. Preferably a photo. Usually it is only either waders or water fowl down here at this point of the bay, yet I had also seen Chaffinches and a Robin here regularly. Something else was about too, it seems: just last month I spotted this little bird. These photos were all I was able to get and I had some doubt on getting an ID for this lovely little bird.
In fact the bird looked much like a Pied Flycatcher, a little migrant from Africa, which favours mostly Oakwoods, and so I wondered what it would be doing here in a small copse
e of Scots Pine trees and scrub at the bay. Was it still en rote to its breeding place? Was it breeding here?
Too many questions arose in my head, so I sent the photo to Niall Hatch, at Birdwatch Ireland. I was hoping he could confirm that it was a Pied Flycatcher.
The email I received from Niall, resulted in mixed emotions:
Would I spot a Pied Flycatcher around here, it would be either coming or going, but not staying. Apparently these have not been seen breeding, here in county Cork.
It seems that only a small number of Pied Flycatcher pairs breed in Ireland, and these are all in county Wicklow (East coast) near Oak woodlands.
It seems that the fledgeling of the Stonechat is very much unlike the orange breasted male and the paler female, but has dark wings, a greyish head and a very light breast.
LEAVE YOUNG BIRDS BE!!
Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!
The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.