18 Mar 2006

Killard (My favourite local walk)

I go out to Killard every dayto walk my highly energetic dog "Pickle", its about eight miles from my house. In fact last year I would probably have gone for a walk there every day, except when I wasnt in the country. Killard is a Nature Reserve

Killard is situated to the south of Strangford Lough,it is surrounded by beautiful views of the Mourne mountains and to the east is the Isle of Man. Saint Patrick is said to have preached to the fishes here in 432 AD; Over the years it has been managed as a rabbit warren(Of which there a great many)and presently for grazing cattle. From 1952 to 1978, the flat top served as an RAF radar station, now included in the reserve. (Now completely overgrown)

As far as birds I have seen Meadow pipit, Rock Pipit, Skylark, Blackbird, Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Peregrine, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Short eared Owl, Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Red Breasted Merganser, Shelduck, Brent Goose, Greylag, Mute Swan,Grey Heron, Shag, Cormorant, Gannet, Fulmar, Little Grebe, Eider, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Sanderling Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Snipe, Curlew ,Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Arctic Skua, Great Northern Diver, Cuckoo, sandwich, Little and Common tern, Greater and Lesser Black backed Gulls, Black headed gull, Common and Herring Gull, Pigeon, Guillemot, Razorbill, Swift, Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin(They breed here) Wheatear, Linnet, Twite Raven, Magpie, Hooded Crow,Rook

The grassland flowers colour the landscape throughout the year. In late April and early May there are thousands of primroses, the blues of spring squill and bluebells appear. Through June, yellow flowers of bulbous buttercup, kidney vetch and wild pansies predominate. In July, restharrow, centaury and pyramidal orchids change the scene to pink while in August the rich purples of knapweed, thyme and field scabious complete the picture. Many of the plants found are uncommon or rare in Ulster. Thousands of orchids flowering in late June produce a display unequalled in the province.

The banks in July and August are alive with butterflies. Dark Green Fritillary,Grayling,Large White,Meadow Brown,Painted Lady,Red Admiral,Ringlet,Small Heath,Small Tortoiseshell,Small White,Wall Brown,Common Blues, Meadow Browns.

Well today no increase in my list but I did watch two Shelduck mobbing a Buzzard for about ten minutes. They would both fly straight at the buzzard, he would drop a little height and they would go round for another pass unlike any mobbing I have ever seen. It was like watching a jumbo jet buzzing a hot air ballon the shelduck would fly at least 50 yards past before turning in large circle before coming back.

No comments: