Thursday, 28 September 2017

Ruff time at WOW

WOW has been very good for ruff recently. Not only have there been up to ten present but they have been imitating the godwits and coming right up to the window and giving stunningly close views. Sometimes they are so close I cannot get the digiscoping equipment working as they fill the frame. There are over 100 teal and last week we had the first adult shelduck back in. There was also a kingfisher present, seen twice and perched on the post in front of the window just long enough to miss a photo opportunity - as I reached for the button it flew off. The terns are gone as are the swallows and martins but there were 60+ lapwings, 5 redshank and four grey herons.

The coastal patch remains quiet and has not produced a new bird since May. The tern loafing area only "terned" up sandwich, roseates have been conspicious by their absence and I have dipped on common and arctic as well as shearwater this year. I will struggle to hit 70 this year in North Down and am still 6 short of the 100 target at WOW/Kinnegar.

Belfast Lough

Sandwich tern

Adult and young

No apologies for the mass of ruff shots as it was difficult to leave any out. The first half dozen were taken on September 14th

Ruff and blackwits not digiscoped.


Collective noun for ruff? Apparently it is "a hill"

Redshank at rest

Great black-backed gull
 The gull was eating a carcass and very mobile, again it was difficult to set up the digiscope as it was quite big and quite close. The next selection were snapped on September 21st.

Redshank reflection

A hill of ruffs, possibly juveniles

Juvenile ruff?

Adult male?
Thanks to Google I can now go in to WOW and say, "Look, a hill of ruffs" and be greeted with more scorn than normal. It makes a change to our usual counting method which involves liberal use of Ulster-Scots, as in a wheen of curlew,  a lock of geese or a wild lot o' mallard. "Look there's a quare lock of geese about th'day"

Today (September 28) again had 7 ruff and 25 species in all - low tide and no feeders. The bonus was a superb peregrine which appeared on two occasions, but better than that were three WOW ticks in the form of grey wagtail, stonechat and water rail, which was also a 2017 tick. It appeared briefly three times in the cut reed channel before I got the kit set up. The camera remained focused there for three hours but it never appeared again. There were lots of moorhens so here is one I took as practice in case the water rail re-appeared. It was an argy-bargy with a young moorhen which put me on to it. It then had the decency to re-appear briefly twice so everyone got a look at it.

Nice moorhen waiting for the water rail to appear


206: Water rail
Bangor West
66: Raven 

Belfast WOW
95: Water rail
96: Stonechat
97: Grey wagtail

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