Friday, 26 January 2018

Round the Lough

Wednesday 17th was the big day and it dawned cold and icy BUT ....dry! We were intending to do the north end of Strangford as the roads were iffy after overnight snow but the main roads were clear and the side roads cleared quickly as temperatures rose. Unfortunately we were an hour late starting so we started at the Flood Gates and headed South. I was shooting in colour, not black and white but it does not look like it.
Flood Gates on a rising tide
We kicked off with lapwing, shelduck and an assortment of waders and quickly racked up numbers and species as we drove south.

Scrabo from the Maltings
Probably best to concentrate on what we did get and not on what we missed (goldfinch!!). Kircubbin gave pipits and Bishop's Mill added bullfinch. The ferry crossing was exposed and windy with few birds to see so we drove on to the Quoile Pondage which like previous years held small numbers of duck and with high water levels few waders. The key to Castle Island hide is on my car keys, unfortunately we were in David's car, so we did not delay and simply headed North to Castle Espie with 59 species recorded. Number 60 was stunning, probably the closest I have ever been to a perched kingfisher as we coasted down the lane to the pond and there it was on a branch in the stream below us. So close I nearly missed it but David put me onto it and it was no more than six feet away. It was so close I thought about a photo from the car but of course it moved!! The "hide" added another four species and we finished off with 64 for the day. Ten of these went on the 2018 list. We normally aim for a rising tide but had to make do with low tide, but the views were as good.

4.00 pm and still monochrome
The next day saw a morning at WOW and the chance to try the new camera. The old Samsung is past its best so I got an identical camera on E-Bay as it fits the adaptor on the scope. No stunning birds, just the usual 30+ species but I managed a few shots with the new set-up and was pleased with the results and the lack of fiddling about which the old camera needed.they are brighter and there is less vignetting than there was last week. Song thrush was the only new bird on the WOW patch and I also added this to the Bangor West patch along with redwing - 8 perched in a tree behind the garden!!

Green plover



Mute swan


73:Canada goose
74: Pintail
75: Pheasant
76: Knot
77: Greenshank
78: Kingfisher
79: Rock pipit
80: Fieldfare
81: Redwing
82: Raven
83: Tree sparrow
84: Golden plover 

Bangor West 
47 Song thrush
48: Redwing

Belfast WOW 
53: Song thrush

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