Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring is here

This week Tanya and I abused our train pass once again and went to Antrim for a walk along the Sixmilewater and Rea's Wood. An added bonus was lunch at Antrim Castle Grounds. The amount of birdsong was a joy to hear and there was a definite hint of spring in the air. This time last year we watched kingfishers prospecting a nest hole, unfortunately this year we did not see them but we did see the other three birds of the river - heron, dipper and grey wagtail. The problem with digiscoping is that once you get on the bird you need to focus the scope. Often I fire off a quick shot and then focus. Unfortunately the dipper does not know this and did not wait around, thus I have a beautifully focused rock and no dipper.

Out of focus dipper
Beautifully focused rock
What was even more annoying is that these excellent dipper views were all we got, we did not see it again. However the grey heron knows the rules and did not rush off. If anything he was too close despite being on the other side of the river.

The grey wagtail never stood still and this was the best I could do.

We looked and listened for sand martin or chiffchaff but had no joy, however we had a good day and lots of singers - blackbird, great tit, chaffinch, dunnock, blue tit, robin and wren were all in good voice. Later the same day I had a quick look at the patch and to my joy and surprise there were a pair of mallard on the lower pond in Strickland's Glen - patch gold  - as I did not expect to get them at all. My joy was increased by the first sandwich tern of the year. Another visit today produced lots of singing birds in Strickland's Glen including bullfinch, goldcrest and song thrush but walking back from Carnalea after a brief, cold seawatch there was a kestrel hunting the rough ground between the Golf Course and the path. I cannot ever remember seeing a kestrel here before. If it had not have been for doing the challenge I would not have been out there today, the joy of patchwork!!

The garden has had a return visit from the grey heron and the male sparrowhawk was through and sat on the washing line post at the back of the garden. The camera was up in the bedroom!! The linnets were back on the feeder and I spotted another jay in Castle Park today.

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