Sunday, 8 March 2020

A hint of spring?

For the first time in 2020 I went to walk the coastal path into Bangor and it finally felt, looked and sounded like a spring day. Birdsong filled the air, the sun shone and daffodils were in blooom. No migrants as yet but a grey heron on the rocks brightened the day. WOW on Thursday provided over 50 species if you count the waders and geese at Kinnegar. The highlight was the return of the Mediterranean gulls to the tern island. They were first noted on 1st March  and we had two around the reserve. We also had the first ruff of the spring as well as a few guilllemots in the channel. The black-headed gulls are finally showing an interest in nesting and there were over 60 in and around the islands. The team at WOW are looking to preserve a part of the island for the terns which arrive later so it will be interesting to see if they are successful. Last year there were over 500 gull nests before the terns arrived so any chance of roseates and arctics hanging around was minimal. I also added a pair of dippers to the list at Mossley as well as slavonian grebe and long-tailed duck off Macedon Point in Whiteabbey. Thanks to Stuart who happened to be there with his scope. I picked up the three ducks but would have struggled to find the grebes.

All in all it looks as if the worst of the winter has moved on. Here on the east coast of Northern Ireland we have not had a really long cold spell but it has been a trifle wet so the reserve is well filled up and ready for the summer visitors. The winter ducks are still with us plus a red-breasted merganser which seems to be finding something to eat. Here are a few shots to brighten your day. .

Merganser at WOW
Med gull at WOW
115: Meadow pipit
116: Dipper 
117: Slavonian grebe
118: Long-tailed duck
119: Mediterranean gull

Bangor West
52: Grey heron

Belfast WOW
64: Mediterranean gull
65: Ruff
66: Guillemot

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