Sunday, 2 August 2015

Coquet Island

Following the boat trip theme I was able to do a trip round Coquet Island, a small RSPB reserve off the Northumberland coast. Landing is not allowed on the island so we were confined to floating around just offshore. There is a breeding colony of almost 40,000 puffins as well as arctic, sandwich, common and roseate terns. The 100 pairs of roseate terns are the largest colony in the UK. We managed to see all of these plus fulmar and kittiwake. The boat trip from Amble also gave good views of eider, cormorant, 4 gull species and merganser. 

Coquet Island lighthouse

Dripping with puffins

Tern and puffin

For the rest of the day we explored the coast  and saw 50 species in all including barwit, blackwit, little egret, avocet, stonechat, linnet and tree sparrow. 

Cresswell Pond, there is an avocet here!!

 I returned to Belfast WOW on Thursday last hoping to see the white-rumped sandpiper which had been present for three days when I was in England, unfortunately despite the best efforts of eight quality birders it could not be located, the bird had flown. Nevertheless we managed 31 species including 2 common sandpiper, snipe, ruff and around 130 dunlin all of which were eagerly scanned several times over. It is probably not a good idea to look at NIBirds when you are in England as it can be a little frustrating. The last time this happened I was in Northumberland while a snowy owl was up around Binevenagh.

Patch watching remains static as I have found most of the birds I expect to see. The latest addition was a buzzard which was soaring somewhere over Bangor West before heading back towards Crawfordsburn. I am on 66 species and would like to think I will make 70. Anything over and above that will be a bonus.

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