22 Apr 2006

I heard a Cuckoo this morning and my first day of volunteering for the RSPB

124. Cuckoo Cuculus canorus(Heard not seen)
125. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
126. Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
127. Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides

Up at 5.00 am this morning for another Dawn Chorus with Anthony Mcgeehan(RSPB). This time it was at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum I arrived at 6.00am and there was a good crowd of people (nearly fifty) not bad for a saturday morning at six am. Anthony is an amusing guide and kept most of the audience giggling. We listened to the newly arrived Willow Warblers, Dunnocks, Wrens and then out of the blue a cuckoo sung for us, a nice addition to a dawn chorus at this time of year.

I took this photo out at Killard last summer. We then heard according to Anthony a female easyjet but proved to be a male british airways when spotted!

We then heard a blackcap which Clare Ferry (A lady who works for RSPB) spotted in a hedgerow. My first of the year. The more I have become serious about this hobby the more I realise there are a great deal of people who enjoy birdwatching. I go to a number of different hides or birdwatching sites and one always meets up with new people. They are nearly always very generous in imparting their knowledge or letting you use a different set of binoculars or scope to the one you own. On the walk this morning there was one of my ex customers from our cafe "Feasts" on the Dublin Road,Belfast (Now sold). Noel Thompson , who chairs the programme "Hearts and Minds" a political programme for BBC Northern Ireland.

After we had our breakfast in the Ulster Folk Museum's Cafe I met up with Anthony Mcgeehan at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Hide where he gave me some keys and showed me how to get into the place. There were 30+ Black Tailed Godwit just out infront of the hide so I took some photos. Sadly not great light. There was alot of common, herring,greater black backed, lesser black backed and black headed gulls. One dunlin landed right in front of the hide. Then Anthony pointed out a Glaucous gull in amongst all the other gulls, another tick for the year. After he left we had a steady flow of visitors to the hide. I lent them scopes and binoculars and pointed out various birds. You definately get all sorts of people , some who know next to nothing to those that would be far more knowledgeable than myself. I was doing the 9-1 shift and just before I left Derek Charles ( A well known Birder) pointed out two Iceland Gulls (Larus glaucoides
A medium-size gull, smaller than most herring gulls. It has a rounded head and a large dark eye, giving it a often dove-like expression. It has very pale wings and white wing tips, and, like the glaucous gull, it is sometimes referred to as one of a ‘white-winged' gull. It is a winter visitor, with small numbers of birds, usually seen singly. It breeds in the Arctic and winters as far south as New York and Britain.) to me another tick/Lifer for me. So yet again another enjoyable morning.

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