26 Aug 2007

Some Recent Bird Photos

193. Mallard
194. Eider (I did a review of my years list and found I had left these two off!!!)

Peregrine's Birding Facts: Over 180,000 birds of 200 species have been ringed at the Portland Bird Observatory

The first two were shot this morning. I had left work in absolute rage because my car had been ticketed and I was furious that none of the staff had got a parking ticket for it as I was delivering sandwiches in the town. When I returned there was this b---dy ticket on my windshield. I left without even looking at any of the staff foregoing a coffee I always take with me after work and drove to the Belfast Harbour Reserve to calm down. I spent an hour in the central hide and watched a couple of Common Sandpiper which were most obliging. When the cloud came over I decided that was my photography for the day. I got back to the car ripped the ticket from the car and opened it to see how much the fine was. It was a very authentic fake saying that I had been ticketed for having a Naff Car. I had been had well and truly. The anger evaporated into laughter. You can get them here.

I also shot these arguing Redshank at the same time as the Sandpipers.

I am really pleased with this photo. I had seen this Kestrel out at Killard dive onto something so I approached it slowly and whenever I got within fifty or so yards it would fly on with its prey a hundred yards. This continued about five times before I decided to cut inland and try and cut it off. Which I did successfully. The prey was a young Starling of which there are a great many at the moment.

I went to St Johns Point in the hope that I might get a photo of a Manx Shearwater. Not to be unless you want to see some dots on a blue background! But I did get this Juvenile Kittiwake.

After I had been to St Johns Point I went to Ardglass Harbour to see if there might be any interesting gulls. There were Herring Gull, Common Gull, Kittiwake and Lesser Black Backed Gull. All flying round the harbour. I liked this young Herring Gull screaming after another which had just picked up some food from the water.

This photo was taken from the Castle Island Hide on the Quoile.

The following three were all taken at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Hide. A Black tailed Godwit just about to land. A Ruff and a Peregrine being harrassed by a Herring Gull.

14 Aug 2007

Two Lifers in a Day one an Extreme Rarity for Northern Ireland. A Squacco Heron

188. Arctic Skua
189. Long Eared Owl
190. Wood Sandpiper
191. Squacco Heron
192. Great Skua

Peregrine's Birding Facts: The Northern Irish List contains 339 Birds

The Squacco Heron was found on the 21st July and was only the second record of this bird in Northern Ireland. The previous sighting was in 1881. It had birders from all over Ireland racing to see it where it gave very good views. I was in Italy when it arrived so it wasnt until I found time which ended being on the 10th of August(Thank Goodness for long staying rarities) that I got good directions and headed up to Lough Beg just North of Lough Neagh (Europes biggest freshwater Lough).

I had been in the bird hide at Belfast Harbour and when I said I was going upto see the Squacco nobody sadly suggested that I shouldnt wear shorts!! I arrived at the broken gate just south of the Lough and clamboured over it . You then continue down a track for a hundred yards before twisting down a narrow path overgrown with brambles and NETTLES. My desire to see the bird at this stage was greater so I got quite nastily stung round my legs. I then came out into a field and the lough was a few hundred yards in front of me. I walked to to the edge thinking where am I going to see this bird. I first saw a Little Egret flying of into the distance and was wondering whether that might have been it. Then I saw a small white looking bird along the shore which I wasnt sure about because it looked so small and it was semi hidden by seeding dock. I then got my scope onto it and sure enough it was the Squacco. I should have read up about it as I wasnt expecting it to be so small.

I then tried to inch my way towards it as it was very small in my camera even though I had the 500mm lens and a converter on. I got a reasonable distance of it before it flew off.

When it flew off it flew low over a Grey Heron which was good as it showed the size comparison.

Lough Beg has been pretty good for me as I saw the pair of Cranes there this time last year which was another first.

Previously in the day I had been at The Belfast Harbour Reserve and seen a very obliging Wood Sandpiper another first right in front of the hide.