15 Jan 2007

A Lifer (Bonapartes Gull) and a nice afternoon at the Belfast Harbour Reserve.

Peregrines Birding Facts: The Red Breasted Merganser is one of the fastest flying birds. It can reach speeds of more than 40mph and may reach as high as 60mph.

92. Shag
93. Rock Pipit
94. Pink Footed Goose
95. Meadow Pipit
96. Glaucous Gull
97. Bonapartes Gull
98. Goosander

I was on duty yesterday afternoon at the Belfast Harbour Reserve. I open the hide at 1.00pm on alternate Sundays.I had just come from the Cafe where I work.As there had been a break-in the night before and I had to see if there was anything missing. Fortunately nothing was stolen never the less the window will have to be repaired. It turned out that there had been four break-ins in the local area that night.Pretty depressing really. So it was nice to get to the hide. There are generally four birders that turn up when I open. Two Philip's, an Ian and a Drew. I am afraid I dont know their surnames. Their nickname is the "Leica Boys". Anyway yesterday it was just the two Philip's so I made them a cup of tea or rather was ordered to put on the kettle the moment they arrived!!

They spotted a Glaucous Gull quite quickly,it was too far way for decent photos. I took the following images throughout the afternoon.
1. Reed Bunting
2. Robin
3. Magpie
4. Ruff

I had twenty three visitors in all aged from three to eighty three. It is fascinating meeting the people who come in. Some are quiet and barely talk at all. Then there was an oldish lady who came in who started pointing out various birds to her friend and describing what was what and one instinctively knew that she had been birding for a long time. When I pointed out one of the Green Wing Teal that had been found she knew exactly what she was looking for. She was trying to make her mind up as to whether to buy the excellent book on Gulls. Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America I said that she ought to yet she thought it a bit expensive.

Then there are other people who come in who really irritate me. The one who shows a great deal of interest but hasnt remembered what a bird looks like from the previous time when you pointed it out. On the whole they are a good group of people most of whom are interested in the hobby that I love.

There was talk of a 1st winter Bonapartes Gull up at Whitehead and as I havent seen one before I decided I would have a look the following day. So after work this morning I headed up to Whitehead to the promenade I got out of the car and saw another birder that I hadnt met before called Cameron videoing something and sure enough it was the Bonapartes right next to the harbour wall feeding on the tideline.(Another Lifer)

After spending quite a while lying on the harbour wall taking photos I thought as I was in the direction I would go over to the Ballycarry Bridge and hopefully pick up a Little egret for my list. It wasnt there but a female Goosander was. So I was pretty pleased with that considering I had tried a few times last year to see one to no avail.

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