Saturday, 14 September 2019

WOW delivers..........again......and again.

As the autumn migration started in earnest we were hoping for a few nice waders as the water levels were spot on - especially compared to August 2018. Tern numbers remain high despite predation by lesser black-backed gulls. Roseate terns have drifted north from the Rockabill colony and we have breeding success from shelduck, shoveler, mallard, coot, moorhen and mute swan. We also have had regular sightings of swallows, sand martins, house martins and swift all hunting over the reserve at the same time. The following photographs give a flavour of what we have had recently starting with the complete and utter patch gold megatick - a cattle egret - which appeared one Thursday and was gone by Friday.

Initial call was "Oh look there is a little egret between two herons beside Hide 2".

Max zoom did not help much as it roosted with it's back to us.
 Only when it started to preen did we realise that it did not have a thin black bill and it did not look right for a little egret. We called it in as a possible cattle egret and about 30 minutes later changed this to definite as it started to move about. There followed a rush to Hide 2 for better shots,

No doubt, check the head and neck plumage.

Always struggled to see the feet, but hey you can't have everything.
The nice ruff up at the window was sort of overlooked!!
We have also had little stint, up to seven ruff, roseate terns and three curlew sandpipers. Thursday September 12th provided two late swift, my latest ever as well as knot, whimbrel, sandwich tern and still up to 50 common terns. A smattering of images gives a flavour of the return wader migration over the last month as well as a stunning wheatear on a walk up Divis - one of four we saw very close together. Add to that one on the North Down Coastal Path and it was a good autumn for wheatears.

Little egret for comparision

Lapwing and curlew sandpiper
Common tern and black-headed gull, I didn't think they were that different in size.

Curlew sandpiper
Curlew sandpiper photobombing a lapwing
Sandwich tern
Dunlin and little stint in setting sun

Little stint

Wheatear on Divis walk
Wheatear on Divis walk
Wheatear by David Miller - he of the better camera than mine!!
Small tortoiseshell on Divis walk
Along the coastal path today there were large numbers of gannets, razorbills, eider, gulls and terns all feeding frantically just off shore with one ot two guillemot as well, quite a spectacle. All in all autumn has well and truly kicked in and hopefully there will be a few more nice birds before things settle down for the winter.

148: Cattle egret
149: Roseate tern
150: Little stint
151: Curlew sandpiper

Bangor West
65: Wheatear

Belfast WOW

90: Cattle egret
91: Roseate tern
92: Little stint
93: Curlew sandpiper 

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