Thursday, 21 April 2016

Spring delivers

The Quoile Pondage produced a good range of birds but no swallows or martins. However I was amply compensated by 2 common sandpipers, 1 little egret, 5 herons, 2 common terns and a pair of mergansers plus all the usual suspects.

WOW today had a full and varied list including 1000 black-headed gulls, 500+ common gulls, 40+ redshank en route to Iceland, 1 ruff, 1 barwit, 400 blackwit,  13 whimbrel and a brief glimpse of a ring-billed gull thanks to Stuart McKee. As usual we had over 30 species even though we looked out on arrival and saw only black-headed gulls by the hundred. The terns haven't arrived yet and the island is still taped off. There are also 6/7 Mediterranean gulls around and we have hopes that they will breed.

Distant whimbrel

Blackwit in full breeding dress
I walked the coastal path twice in the last week and added sandwich tern, reed bunting and meadow pipit.

WOW patch list:    
68 Ring-billed gull

West Bangor patch list:
58 Sandwich tern
59 Reed bunting
60 Meadow pipit

2016 list 
128 Common sandpiper
129 Common tern
130 Whimbrel 
131 House martin

Friday, 15 April 2016

Know your finches

The WOW feeders regularly have chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch and redpoll. There are also occasional linnets and siskin as well as great and blue tits. 

Nice red redpoll & goldfinch

Chaffinch & redpoll

Greenfinch & redpoll  

........and a nice shoveler

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Spring has sprung

At last we have migrants. The Broad Water near Moira last week had singing chiffchaff, swallow and sand martin. Kiltonga near Ards yesterday had singing chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap. WOW today had willow warbler and there were sandwich terns at the Kinnegar. The mediterranean gulls are showing signs of nesting and a swallow was observed - but not by me. The tern island has been covered with tape and CDs to keep the gulls from nesting. The trick is to strip it back when the terns arrive but before the gulls can take over. Hopefully Chris will get it right.

View from the roadside hide
Swan nest from the lane hide
Tufted duck from the lane hide

Swift tower is ready for action

WOW patch list:   63 Brent goose
64 Sandwich tern
65 Dunnock
66 Willow warbler
67 Black guillemot

West Bangor patch list:
55 Raven
56 Lesser black-backed gull
57 Goldcrest

2016 list 
123 Raven
124 Swallow
125 Willow warbler
126 Sand martin
127 Sandwich tern

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Few migrants as yet

Not a lot to report as I have not been out much or it has been too wet or I have been away from the patches due to family circumstances. I dropped into WOW for pintail and ruff and the blackwits have really oranged up in the last couple of weeks.  Antrim produced a dipper and  I finally managed a lesser black back along the coast, a flyover raven and two garden goldcrests this morning. The feeders are still attracting the female blackcap - it was there today -  and a pair of siskin. I thought they would be away by now. Still looking for curlew, sandwich tern and gannet along the coast, the former might wait till the autumn, but I had the latter two in March in 2015. Hopefully will be out and about this week and clean up on a few migrants.

WOW patch list:  
61 Pintail
62 Ruff

West Bangor patch list:
55 Raven
56 Lesser black-backed gull
57 Goldcrest

2016 list 
122 Dipper