I was on duty yesterday afternoon at the RSPB Hide in Belfast as I am every other Sunday. It was a stunning day and very cold. Infact most of the water was frozen and quite alot of the Teal and Wigeon were standing on the edge of the only area that wasn't frozen. The beauty about this reserve is that they all feed right in front of the hide.
This is a Green Winged Teal it can be identified by its vertical white stripes.This is the American form of the Common Teal.It was considered conspecific with the Common Teal for some time, and the issue is still being reviewed by the American Ornithologists' Union ; based on this the IUCN and BirdLife International do not accept it as a separate species at present. However, nearly all other authorities consider it distinct nowadays, based on behavioral, morphological , and molecular evidence.The bird below is the Common Teal.
as is this one in flight.
The Black Tailed Godwit were having a really hard time on the ice similar to Jon Sargent dancing; basically all over the place!!!
There was one Black Tailed Godwit that had broken its leg and it looked as though it had healed because it was walking on it without too much trouble. You have to feel sorry for it. Sometimes birds can seem very stoical.
Every now and again a Sparrowhawk would fly over and all the waders and ducks flew out to the ice. They then returned to feed when they felt safe. This presented great opportunities to photograph the duck in flight. My favourite of the day was this Wigeon (Anas penelope)
A Water Rail made a brief appearance and there were about twenty Reed Bunting on the crop field but no sight of the female Brambling that had been around earlier in the week.
There were a number of regulars who came in Ian Graham and Ian Patience and a young lad Mark. Ian had brought the latest issue of the Northern Ireland Bird Report covering 2005 and 2006 which features one of my photographs on the front. So was pretty chuffed with that.They had just come back from seeing some Waxwings in Lisburn. After they left I had a very quiet afternoon visitor wise. I got a photo of this Magpie which I quite like.
I finished work and decided that before I was my son Jeremy's taxi service that I would go home via Lisburn and see if I could find the Waxwings.I have a small attachment to Lisburn as my Grandfather who died in WW11 has a memorial plaque at the front of Lisburn Cathedral. Finding the Waxwings was successful this was only the second time I have ever seen them. There were about a hundred and you can get very close to them. However getting a clean image of them was very difficult and these are the only ones that I was happy with.
I also got my first decent shot of a Redwing which seemed to be sharing the blackthorn berries along with some Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and the Waxwings. The Waxwings were chattering away and flying between the edge I was close to and another hedge across a field. They fly very similarly to a Starling.