Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Birds on holiday?

Not a lot to report recently. A boat trip to the Copeland Islands added puffin to the year list and put the County Down list up to 200. It also provided lots of manx shearwaters, immature gulls and seals. We were able to visit the Observatory and see a shearwater chick in its burrow.

Puffins in the sea

More puffins

Fratercula arctica

Common tern close up

Manx shearwater chick
A visit to Rathlin added wheatear and sedge warbler to the year list but not the expected great skua. It flew past all the non birders eating their lunch while I was visiting the lighthouse!! Work at the harbour turned out to be a new deep water berth for the bigger ferry so here are a couple of shots of the old one before it is taken out of service. I remember when it was state of the art and an improvement on an open boat with an outboard at the back.

Castlerock Beach at sunset
Belfast WOW is quiet, most of the gullls have gone and the terns are at various stages of fledging. Some are flying, others still vulnerable. Last week I watched a common tern chick being taken and swallowed by a lesser black-backed gull, possibly one of the breeding pair on the reserve. A wood sandpiper popped up last week but too well hidden and too far away for a photograph. Waders are staring to drift in and it looks like autumn is on the way while we still wait for summer. The poor weather has its compensations however as we have had good numbers of swifts, swallows and house martins giving good views.

WOW patch list:    
81 Greenshank
82 Sedge warbler
83 Wood sandpiper
West Bangor patch list:
64 Gannet

2016 list 
175 Puffin
176 Sedge warbler
177 Wheatear
178 Wood sandpiper

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