Monday, 18 March 2019

# patch gold megatick

Let's not beat about the bush here, this afternoon I saw a water rail in Strickland's Glen. One of those moments you dream about as a birder -  an unexpected bird in a famliar place. As they are reedbed specialists I have no idea what it was doing there in a wooded glen. There is a tree down across the river at that point and in heavy rain the water backs up and the path floods. Once the flood subsides there is a mass of flotsam behind the tree - mud, leaves, branches, plastic bottles, dead footballs etc.. I stopped to look, saw a movement and thought dunnock, no too big, possibly moorhen, so got the binoculars onto it and bingo, it is a water rail which picked about long enough for Tanya to get a good look at it as well. After taking our fill of the bird, we walked on and it was still picking about. The hoped for grey wagtail and first lesser black backs of the year did not appear, but hey, who cares I'll get them again!

Other than that, it has been reasonably quiet as most of the winter stuff has been mopped up and the spring migrants are not here yet. I added a garden song thrush, and a walk along the Broad Water at Moira turned up two redwings in a flock of 20 - 25 fieldfare. WOW was very quiet with a low tide and heavy showers. The milder weather this week with south-west winds might pull in an early chiffchaff or sand martin, both have been seen locally. The other piece of news happened in Carnalea where my friend David - he of the good camera - spotted a brambling on his feeders on St Patrick's day. It did not hang around and has not been back or found its way to my garden but you never do know - if you can get a water rail in Stricklands Glen anything is possible. It just proves the old adage, anything can turn up anywhere.

Dunlin at Whiteabbey
Black-headed gulls at Smelt Mill Bay
A rainy WOW last Thursday, there were around 1000 black-headed gulls present.
Water rail spot on the river
It was behind the orange football!!
David Miller's brambling
Great tit with large tick
The great tit was photographed by David as well at Castleward. He thought it looked a bit off colour and let him get close without moving, only later did he realise it has a large tick attached to its neck. probably not long for this world unfortunately. 

117: Redwing

Bangor West
48: Greenfinch
49: Song thrush
50: Water rail

Belfast WOW

67: Lesser black-backed gull 

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