Thursday, 10 January 2019

2018 wrap and 2019 kicks off

Not a lot to say about the end of 2018 as the lists stayed the same, no point in replicating them, they are at the end of the previous post. The disappointing sting in the tail was driving to Pennington Flash on Boxing Day and finding all the hides locked and all the feeders empty. So gutted I mooched about for 20 minutes and gave up with a list which was all common stuff plus a goosander on the main lake.
Dawn over County Down
2019 dawned clear and bright and we were able to be out on January 1st for the first time in quite a few years as my birding pal David is now retired and was not required in work. We did the west side of Strangford Lough, starting at the Quoile Pondage and working north through Killyleagh, Ballymorran, Whiterock, Castle Espie, Islandhill and finished at the Floodgates in fading light. We hit 61 species, dipped on the spoonbill but saw peregrine on two occasions - possibly the same bird - and a long-tailed duck at the Quoile.  Other notable species were pintail at the Floodgates, 1000 + golden plover, goldeneye, greenshank, red-breasted merganser and fieldfare. All in all a good start to the year.

Quoile by David Miller
Grey heron by David Miller
Whiterock snipe also by David Miller
David's arty shot of black-headed gulls at the Quoile
David's other snipe shot

Long-tailed duck (This one is mine)
Rough Island looking south for the spoonbill
Sunset at the Flood Gates
WOW kicked off with 50 species and put me half way to my 100 target on the first day! The highlight was a hunting peregrine plus linnet, redpoll and reed bunting at the feeders. This week I added another 5 including goldcrest, snipe and guillemot. Here are a few shots from the last couple of visits. None from today as the light was not at its best but it was better than it is in work!!

Gadwall pair

Mallard pair

Shovelers shoveling
I had two walks along the coastal path plus the garden so the West Bangor patch now stands at 42 - more than half way to the target of 70. Highlights were curlew (which took me till mid-October in 2018), moorhen, grey heron (both can be hard to get), sparrowhawk, guillemot, and purple sandpiper. The garden added linnet and bullfinch on the feeders and goldcrest and long-tailed tit within minutes of each other in the rowan tree while I was registering the new washing machine on the phone!! I actually managed to birdwatch for the first five days in January. Since then things have quietened down a bit and a walk along the Lagan towpath produced very little.

Tuesday saw a trip to Whitehead for black redstart and twite, while a stop at Macedon Point on the way home added red-throated diver and pheasant. The latter nearly became dinner as it exploded from the roadside across the front of the car.

82: Red-throated diver

Bangor West
42: Bullfinch

Belfast WOW

51: Buzzard
52: Snipe
53: Goldcrest
54: Cormorant
55: Guillemot

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