Saturday, 28 September 2019

More nice migrants

Birding has been confined to WOW recently with a couple of walks along the costal path. New ticks are hard to get but the high tide roost at Seacliff Road produced nice numbers of winter waders - redshank, oystercatcher, turnstone, ringed plover, dunlin and 2 purple sandpiper. There were also large numbers of birds feeding in Belfast Lough  - eider, gannet, black-headed gulls, herring gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, razorbill and guillemot. Other observers picked up skuas off Helen's Bay - well off my patch - but try as I might I could never see anything out of the ordinary. I didn't do a count but there were close to 1000 herring gulls between  Carnalea and Bangor as well as 500+ razorbills. I tried very hard to spot a kittiwake but failed.

WOW came up with some nice stuff in the last two or three weeks. There were over 70 red-breasted merganser off Kinnegar as well as three little egrets on the beach fishing on a dropping tide. I also saw my first brent geese of the winter - a family party of four. The reserve turned up a spotted redshank which has been about for over nearly two weeks and a pectoral sandpiper which stayed for a day or two. We also have had a few visits from a kingfisher and I was lucky enough to connect. There have been up to 9 ruff and 4 curlew sandpiper and the winter ducks are drifting back in. Only shelduck are missing. Coot numbers are dropping fast as they move to their winter quarters and there were still a couple of common tern about on the 19th. Last week there were none but I saw small parties with young birds along the coastal path and resting on the rocks. Kinnegar turned up a few bar-tailed godwit and half a dozen knot as well as chiffchaff  in the trees behind Hide 2. All in all an autumny feel to the area with linnet and jay in the garden and leaves on the lawn. Here is a selection of recent images including a large visitor to the harbour.

Feeding redshank
Spotted redshank
Spotted redshank
Redshank front and spotshank behind
MSC Meraviglia which is bigger than Titanic and holds 6500 passengers and crew, it was hard to miss!!

152: Pectoral sandpiper
153: Spotted redshank

Bangor West
65: Wheatear

Belfast WOW

94: Pectoral sandpiper
65: Spotted redshank
96: Razorbill
97: Kingfisher 

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