120. Swallow ( 5th April)
121. Wheatear (6th April)
123. Barnacle Goose
124. Chiffchaff (7th April) Drumaboden, Donegal
125. Willow Warbler (8th April) Drumaboden , Donegal
126. Red Grouse (Glenveagh, Donegal)
Peregrine's Birding Facts There are 80 species of Swallows and Martins in the world.
Remember to see a bigger photo click on image.
Finally three days on the trot off. I headed upto Donegal to meet my wife Penny and the children (Sorry young adults) and her brother Tom and three of his children. Penny and I were staying in my parents house, with three boys sleeping in a flat on the farm and the rest were staying in my mother's holiday cottage on another farm.Shamrock Cottages Click on Donegal and it is cottage 301. Sorry I have to do a bit to promote it!!
On the way up as I was on the motorway just coming out of Belfast I saw my first Swallow of summer followed by another an hour later as I was coming into Derry. Arrived at about quarter to eight in time for a very good supper provided by my father.
I also met the nephew and nieces for the first time.
On friday I decided to take them out to the beach at Magheraroarty on the Bloody Foreland.(This is the North West Corner of Donegal) I had been there for the first time last september. We took a picnic and headed for the beach.As we passed the little harbour I saw a Wheatear my first for the year, not alot of interest in the car from anybody else. I was in my ageing VW passat and Tom had hired a Landrover Discovery which was probably a better choice than mine after we had travelled a mile down a very bumpy sandy trail to the back of the dunes. Penny was decidedely unamused at me taking the car down the track as we grounded out a few times. From where we parked there was still a 500 yard walk to the beach climbing up and down the dunes. But wow what a beach totally deserted except for ourselves.This view is looking towards Horn Head.
The children all played cricket and Bulldog and I sat up high in the dunes watching the Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. I also saw great flocks of Brent Geese which were heading off on their way to Iceland and from there to the high Canadian Arctic.
I reckoned there were over a thousand in all.
We then had lunch and afterwards I noticed along the shoreline loads of Sanderling so I headed off with my camera. Annoyingly I didnt have my groundpod and had to photograph them handheld which makes it difficult to get really sharp images. Plus Pickle kept running at them which made it quite difficult to get close to them.
In the first picture it has caught a sandeel. I will have to go back another time with groundpod and waterproofs so I can lie in soaking wet sand.
On the way home on the lakes outside Dunfanaghy I saw some Barnacle Geese at the New Lakes. Another Tick
The following day I am up at the holiday cottage when I hear that lovely sound of the Chiff Chaff so I headed over to the hedgerow of Willow, Alder Ash and Birch Trees and spent ages trying to see the warbler. Finally it flew right in front of me. The views from the cottage are great and this is the one looking down the drive.
We decided that we were going to climb the mountain in the above photo. So with much teenage whining we drove to our starting point.I hoped to possibly see Grouse and maybe a Golden Eagle. I have yet to see one of the Donegal Golden Eagles. Its quite an easy climb and my eldest Jeremy virtually ran to the top. Well I didnt see any birds at all apart from a distant Hooded Crow. This is us at the topFrom front left Penny my wife, Niece Florence, Son Charlie, Lizzie Toms partner,Oliver Tom's son. Back row from Left Jeremy, my son, Hermione Tom's youngest daughter and then Tom. After our descent we went to the pub for a pint of guinness. I then went on my own to Horn Head to see if I could catch up with a Chough. I didn't. The cliffs were home to tons of breeding Kittiwakes and Fulmers. The Fulmer has to be one of my favourite birds. It is such a graceful flyer and soars up the cliff face. I semi enjoyed myself as there was a party of five french people and the female in the party always stood so close to the edge that I had to move away from them as there was probably a three hundred foot drop if she had slipped! Whereas scaredy cat me is at least ten feet from the edge and then generally sitting down!!!
The following day Easter Day I go up to Drumaboden the holiday cottage and I listen out for the Chiff Chaff when I hear the unmistakeable sound of its closest looking bird the Willow Warbler. Infact I reckoned there were two or three of them even though I only saw one of them. After Brunch of mainly chocolate we went for a walk out at Glenveagh. Well it was just outside the estates deer fence along a track that was traditionally used for transporting the turf from the bogs. At the end of the track Pickle put up a pair of Red Grouse which made my easter as I wasnt sure whether I would see them this year.