Rossadillisk, Ireland

~A mighty, mighty, Eurasian Blue Tit! This young bird looks ready to take on the world! Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/12/18.

From July 7th to the 14th, Tricia and I, along with seven other members of her family rented a house right on the beach in Rossadillisk, Ireland. Rossadillisk is a Townland in County Galway, Ireland. It is very small, taking up just .29 square miles of area. But, it is certainly not the smallest, as, of the approximately 4,556 townlands in County Galway, it is the 2,483rd largest. For such a small area, Rossadillisk packs a pretty mean birding punch. There is great birding along the road – with many fields and plenty of thick vegetation. And then, there is always the beach. I got into a nice routine of getting up nice and early. I would bird the beach right in front of our house and then set off to bird along the road, which is where I found most of my birds. I would finish the morning by birding what I called the “far beach”, which was much larger and more productive than the beach right in front of the house.

~My favorite bird of the trip, a Eurasian SKYLARK sits in some nice light in a pretty setting. Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/10/18.~ 

For the week, I tallied 46 species of birds in that .29 square miles. I mostly enjoyed the challenge of trying to find birds and identify them; in the beginning, identifying birds was not coming very easily at all.  It felt a lot like starting over birding – I came to realize how much I know the birds in our area just because I’ve had plenty of experience with them before and because they are supposed to be there; they are expected. And, I also realized that I’m not actually spending all that much time truly looking at birds and recognizing and knowing their field marks. Additionally, I hadn’t done much homework before the trip, and the guides I was using* just didn’t seem to be quite as comprehensive as the ones we use for birds in the eastern United States, and finally, it was the time of year when there were many young birds around, so some of the plumages I was seeing were not in the guides. This made for some very interesting and rewarding birding, in spite of it being frustrating at times.

~Sedge Warbler, Rossadillisk Townland, Ireland 07/13/18.~

I hope you enjoy this little taste of Ireland’s birds – I’ve included my favorite shots from my mornings in Rossadillisk. If I’ve misidentified any birds, please let me know in the comments.

~A young European Robin. I never once saw an adult, but these guys were around most mornings. Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/09/18.~ 
~Flyover by a Red-billed Chough, Rossadillisk Townland, Ireland 07/10/18.~
~Hard to beat a Stonechat on a post! Rossadillisk Townland, Ireland 07/10/18.~ 
~I wonder if the Irish take these European Goldfinches for granted the way many of us do with our American Goldfinches? Beautiful little bird, Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/09/18.~ 
~One more of my favorite, a EURASIAN SKYLARK showing off its crest. Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/10/18.~


~There were a pair of Mew Gulls at the beach in front of our house nearly all the time. Sharp looking bird in my opinion. Rossadillisk Townland, Ireland 07/07/18.~ 
~I was excited to see this bird. Common Ringed Plover at the far beach, Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/09/18.~ 
~Eurasian Oystercatchers were plentiful. Other shorebirds that I saw but was unable to get good photos of include Eurasian Curlew and Common Greenshank. My brother-in-law Bill located a Common Redshank at a beach not too far way. This oystercatcher was at the far beach in Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/09/18.~ 
~I saw these guys (gals?) every day as well. Black-headed Gull at the far beach in Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/08/18.~ 
~I misidentified this bird initially as a Common Rosefinch. The eBird reviewer from the area communicated with me to let me know it was in fact a Eurasian Linnet and that CORO was a rare sighting in Ireland, with perhaps 10 a year. Far beach at Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/09/18.~ 
~Stonechat on the beach, Rossadillisk Townland, Ireland 07/10/18.~
~European Greenfinch at the far beach, Rossadillisk, Ireland 07/09/18.~

*I used the Complete Field Guide to Ireland’s Birds by Eric Dempsey & Michael O’Clery, as well as two apps on my phone: iBird UK Pro and Birds of Britain and Ireland by Natureguides.

16 thoughts on “Rossadillisk, Ireland”

  1. Great job Matt. Love the photos and the text and they all brought back some wonderful remembrances of being their with my late wife, Joan, in 1989. I’m sorry that you didn’t see any adult Eur. Robins – – – a lovely bird and a personal favorite. Hopefully you will be lured back soon and often. Thanks for sharing it all.

    1. I saw an adult when I was there in 2012 and yes, a beautiful bird. I’m glad to have stirred up some good memories for you – I didn’t know you’d been. Matt

  2. Just beautiful, Matt, and I love your comments on the photos and hearing about your adventures. It sounds as though you, Tricia and family had a marvelous time together. Though they are all fabulous, my favorite photo is the Sedge Warbler. The Warbler’s soft colors with the brilliant pink and green of the Fuschia are stunning. It was so nice of the bird to chose that spot for your photo op!

    1. Thanks so much Kathy, it really was a great vacation. I like the Sedge Warbler too – it was very nice of that bird to choose that perch. I’m glad to hear it had an impact on you because, to me, it didn’t resonate as strongly as I thought it would when I took it. Matt

    Birds of Europe by Lars Jonson
    Where to Watch Birds in Europe and Russia by Nigel Wheatley
    The Larousse Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe
    Where to Watch Birds in Europe by John Godders
    Birds of Europe by Svensson,Mullarney, and Zetterstrom

    I have not seen the red billed chough but have seen the alpine. Within the last week have seen the Miss Kite and the Brig. Spoonbill. Saw 7 Royal terns yesterday. We leave for Europe in 8 days.
    Always interesting reading your posts

    1. I’m glad you are enjoying the posts, and thanks for the information Bruce. I should have touched base with you before leaving, lol. Miss Kite and Spoonbill are 2 excellent birds. I always thought we would get MIKI in OC again after having the pair at Sterling Forest SP a few years back. I’m heading up to the Adirondacks this morning to shoot loons; enjoy your trip to Europe. Matt

    1. Hi John – I was away for the weekend, so just getting to respond to this now. I think that my ID is correct – I’m basing this conclusion mostly on the shape of the bill, which doesn’t look good for Brambling to me. Thanks, Matt

  4. Nice Matt
    I like them all.
    It always amazes me when friends get a chance to go to
    other countries and share so many different birds with us.
    God’s creation always amazes me.


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