17 Nov 2006

Birding Marthas Vineyard

No new birds!!

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I have just finished reading Bird News ( Vagrants and Visitors on a Peculiar Island ) by E. Vernon Laux in which he documents a birding year in the life of Martha's Vineyard. You may well wonder what this has to do with birding in Northern Ireland. Well I lived on the Vineyard on and off from 1984 to 1989 and having read this book I now look back with some regret that I didn't take more interest in the birds at the time. There were a few birds that I do remember Cardinals, Blue Jays, the Sanderlings on the beach running away only a few feet in front of you. However the bird that I particularly remember more than any other was the abundance of Osprey's. I had probably only seen one or two in my life at that time. Then I pitched up on the Vineyard and they were everywhere during the breeding season.I marvelled at their prowess of catching fish in Sengekontacket Pond. I used to do two jobs at the time. One was working in Edgartown in a couple of restaurants "Martha's Restaurant on Main street and L'Etoile at the Charlotte Inn on South Summer Street. The other job was industrial cleaning which enabled me to see places all over the Island where the general tourist wouldnt see. Some of the houses where I used to clean would have nesting poles for the Ospreys on their land.

They also had what I regard as probably one of the best regional newspapers in the world "The Vineyard Gazette". It has world class photography and there was also a column called Bird News which was a weekly update of Birding News and information by a number of different authors. I would love to see more local papers here in Northern Ireland have a similar column. I am thinking about going there next summer with the children in August.

Vernon Laux the author of the above book found a Red Footed Falcon on the Island. This was a major find as there had never been one seen before in either North or South America. I even remember reading about it in the Daily Telegraph.

I have been to the hide at Belfast Lough a few times in the last week and the weather for photography has been pretty appalling but I did get a few shots of the birds and animals that are causing quite alot of disturbance at the moment. Anthony (The RSPB Warden) reckons there are a couple of Sparrowhawks that are making a nuisance of themselves as well as the regular visits by the Peregrines. This fox was very wary and when it appeared the nearby moorhens sped off in all directions.


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Michael said...

I very much enoyed reading about your peregrinations.

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elcamperoinquieto.com said...

Very nice fox pic...not easy seeing tem on water...