24 Jun 2006

Orchids and Storm Petrel

142. Storm Petrel

I went out to Killard this afternoon with Pickle, my working cocker spaniel. I have not been out here for over a week and the difference in growth is amazing. Also the orchids are now in full bloom. It really is a magical spot in the summer with all the wild flowers.In early May, 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.

Well as to Birds there were loads of Sand martins flying over the fields, a Whitethroat, a few Stonechats and many Skylarks and Meadow pipits feeding their nearly adult young. Infact the sound of the Larks was almost deafening. When I got down onto the beach there was not many birds around apart from a heron and a few oystercatchers. So I decided to look out to sea with the scope. There was a sea mist starting about a mile offshore which I have found tends to bring the pelagic birds closer to the coast. I could see a few Gannets both mature and immature flying by as well as Manx Shearwaters, Guillemots and then for my first time from the shore I saw a Storm Petrel
fluttering over the water black all over with its very distinct white rump.It always gives me a buzz to see a new bird especially a pelagic as it means that I will not have to go out to sea to see them (I usually get very seasick and wouldnt enjoy a pelagic bird trip at all)

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