Friday, 3 September 2021

American megatick

Now and again the patch at WOW turns up a good bird. There are a few reasons for this. It is nicely situated alongside Belfast Lough, there are a range of habitats and it is well watched. Most birders will visit Kinnegar beach and lagoon on their way to WOW or vice versa. It is a magnet for waders and gulls so observers happily check out flocks and those whose idea of a good day out is to scope through 1000+ gulls can have a good time within easy reach of Belfast. Over the weekend we hit the jackpot when Stuart McKee found a Bonaparte's gull. It spent most time on Kinnegar beach, as well as roosting in the sewage works or in WOW. I finally found it on my fourth visit and it was hard enough scanning through 4-500 black-headed gulls, plus herring gulls, lesser black backs and sandwich terns. Last saw one here in Bangor in 1979, but also saw them on their home turf in Niagara in 1991. here are a few shots, for really good ones go to the NI birds web site here:

Despite falling water levels WOW is pulling in passage waders. This week we had our regular oystercatcher, curlew, lapwing, redshank, dunlin and black-tailed godwit, but we also had eight snipe feeding out in the open, nine ruff, two sanderling, three curlew sandpiper and two little stint. Kinnegar added ringed plover and turnstone. All in all I had over 30 species and as the feeders aren't up there were very few small birds on the list. No finches, tits, dunnock, robin or blackbird. Could hit 40 on a good day. Kinnegar lagoon and the sewage works holds most of the ducks as the reserve is too dry, it also had ten little egrets and two grey herons. Normally these are occasional visitors - usually single birds - but for some reason they are there in their droves. Presumably there is food to be had or they wouldn't be there.

Little egrets and mallard

Roosting curlew

Snipe and moorhen

Might have to cut down the predator perch!!

Teal each side of a dunlin with a tiny little stint in behind.

The local coastal path is still getting walked but nothing new has popped up. Winter waders have returned with redshank and turnstone, once I see a purple sandpiper I'll know winter has arrived. The garden is quiet so the list stays at 69 - I need a raven cronking overhead.

144: Little stint
145: Bonaparte's gull

69: Razorbill

77: Little stint
78: Bonaparte's gull

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