Not only are the nights drawing in but we are under sort of lockdown again.Fortunately we can get out and about, unfortunately WOW has been forced to close. The hides are still open and we had one glorious week of coffee, heat and toilets, but it was a low tide so there was not a lot to see. Walks along the coasts and local wooded areas have not produced much in the way of birds either. I managed a three mile walk in Clandeboye Wood and the sum total was a singing robin. Even the garden has been on the quiet side with only coal and great tits in any numbers and the feeders have not needed topping up regularly. I have also attempted to chase a few exotic visitors but that did not work out at all and yellow-browed warbler at Kearney, great white egret at Castle Espie and grey phalarope at Barr Hall Bay all saw me coming and legged it. The birding highlight of the last week or more was three buzzards on Sunday as we went to church. Church is in suburban Bangor West and to see three buzzards over the nearby houses was a bit of a shock, albeit a very nice shock. To be fair Carnalea golf course is just behind these houses and it does have rabbits in abundance so at least there is a rational explanation. I remember having to go to North Antrim in the 1980s to see buzzards and now they are on the local patch.
I have been to Castle Espie twice to hit the rising tide, the first time we missed it so we had to go back. It's not nice when you look down the path and see water. Well it is nice in its own way but not when you are hoping to see mud and waders. First six photos by my birding pal with the good camera David Miller
|What no mud!|
|Whoops the tide's in|
|That's better, mud, waders geese and ducks|
|50+ great crested grebes with shelduck and eider - very far away!!|
|Fishing in the creek|
Tanya and I did an interesting walk along the northern edge of Strangford Lough from the Flood Gates to the sewage works, an out and back walk of 4 miles. The tide was out but rising slowly and we had good views of the birds of Strangford Lough plus a few species in the hedges and fields. For those of you who do not know this walk it is a raised tidal barrier with Strangford Lough and areas of saltmarsh on one side and Ards Airport and fields on the other side. We had good views of brent geese, shelduck, curlew, redshank, oystercatcher, dunlin, knot, lapwing, black-tailed godwit and little egret on the Lough and buzzard, kestrel, stonechat, linnet and skylark over the fields.
|Brent on the Lough|
|Dawn record shot from the Flood Gates. This area is good for teal lapwing and pintail. |
|The sign warns of low flying aircraft!!|