On a number of mornings recently I have been sitting out on the breakwater beyond the RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve. There is the main channel that leads down into the centre of Belfast and to the Harland and Wolff dry docks. From the reserve hide it looks quite narrow but in effect has to be 400 metres wide. Here is a picture of a cruise liner taken from the reserve going down this channel.
I enjoy just sitting in one position for an hour or more as you really get to observe what is going on around you. Also the birds tend not to worry about you after a while. I had been watching some Common Sandpipers flying past and in a 90 minute period about 25 flew past. One of them landed pretty close to me.
and here is another coming into land.
They are a lovely wee bird and in flight can be easily identified they have a stiff wingbeat which is spasmodic and then they glide with their wings in the downward position with some flickering wingbeats.
Overhead meanwhile the Common Terns and Arctic Terns are returning with food for their young on the Tern Islands within the Reserve. I have seen them carrying small crabs, prawns, sandeels and small fish.
I was also fortunate to hear a Little Tern flying amongst the Terns. This would be the second time only that I have seen a Little Tern at the reserve.
As the tide rises in Belfast Lough many of the waders such as Curlew and Oystercatcher will fly towards Belfast and go and roost at the Belfast Harbour Reserve. So they all tend to fly down this channel. Here is a Curlew and Oystercatcher.
While I was sitting there a party of Eider Duck swam by.
Also you can see Black Guillemots feeding in the channel heres one flying.
Next weekend this channel will be filled with tall ships as Belfast has been chosen as the destination for the final leg of the 2009 Atlantic Challenge Tall Ships Race. So it will be Tall Ships not Birds I will be photographing for that weekend!!