22 Feb 2007

Dipped on the Dowitcher but had a nice time taking photos this afternoon at home and Killard.

111. Little Egret
112. Water Rail

Peregrine's Birding Fact. Grebes have upto 20,000 feathers to keep their bodies warm and dry as they dive for food.

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I have done a bit of birding since last week. I went to WWT Castle Espie on the weekend to take some photos and no sooner had I got there but the light disappeared isnt it always the way. When you are into bird photography waking up to find its a grey day can really put a dampener on it. Before it went I did get to see a Little Egret out on the mudflats in front of the main hide.

On Sunday I was on duty at the hide in Belfast and it had to be my quietest day since I started volunteering last April. It wasnt helped when I turned up to find a youth in motorcycle helmet infront of the hide trying to take photos with his mobile phone. He got short sharp thrift from me. I am glad Anthony wasnt their otherwise he would probably be feeding the magpies ;-) Needless to say there wasn't a bird close by apart from an Iceland Gull that flew close by.

Yesterday I decided I was going to drive down to the Dundalk Docks in Co. Louth to see a Long Billed Dowitcher which had been hanging around since mid January. I got directions from Breffni Martin a Co. Louth birder here is a photo he took Here The journey took me about an hour from Belfast it would have been quicker if there weren't so many mobile speed cameras. (My pet hate. ) When I arrived at the docks the tide was 2/3rds of the way in and there was another birder from the North Jim Carroll( I hope I remembered that right) He hadnt seen it. In all I spent four hours looking. There were Black Tailed Godwit, 2 Grey plover,Brent geese, teal, mallard, Wigeon,hundreds of Redshank, Mute Swan,Curlew,Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Dunlin, a reasonable assortment of gulls but no Dowitcher. Fume!!! I will have to go back.The tides at the moment are the highest of the year and consequently the mudflats were completely covered and all the waders disappeared. I will be back as Arnie once said in one of his movies.

This morning I went to the hide in Belfast after work and thought I saw a wren like movement in the brambles adjacent to the hide. I looked through the bins and was pleasantly surprised to see it was an extremely well camouflaged Water Rail.I ran to the car to get my camera but again not too be. I could see it but only the merest of glimpses so no photos for my yearlist that I am doing on Birdforum Here

I went and home and slept til one and woke up to find the sun out and good conditions for bird photography. The feeder in front of the house gets really good light in the afternoon so I started to take photos of some garden birds. Coal Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Starling and a Greenfinch. On looking through the photos this evening I noticed the Greenfinch was ringed!!! See Below
Coal Tit

Dunnock

Robin

and a head shot of a Starling.


I then took Pickle our lovely Working Cocker Spaniel out to Killard for her daily exercise and to see if I could get some photos of Purple Sandpiper. Quite successful even if I did have to lie in one spot for an hour and a half.

Pickle spent most of the time hunting rabbits and them when she was worried racing back to me and then into the water scattering the waders as they were getting progressively closer to me. She isn't really conducive to Bird Photography!! There was one Redshank that would scream off every time she appeared.



Typically as the Sandpipers and Turnstones lost their fear of me my memory card filled up too quickly these are my two favourite images of the afternoon.

2 comments:

Fraser Simpson said...

Love the Starling image - interesting angle! Fraser

Trevor said...

The shot of the starling also caught my eye. They are very common here in South Australia and are an introduced pest species (they eat our fruit crops). Despite that they are a beautiful bird and you've captured that wonderful iridescence.