23 Aug 2009
I headed out to Killard NR in the afternoon. I am not that fond of visiting on weekends as there can be too many people out there for my liking but Pickle needed a walk. There was quite a few cars parked where I park so the omens weren't good. If one is into Bird Photography as I am it can be quite frustrating getting closer and closer to a particular bird when unbeknownst to you a person is walking nearby and spooks it. The tide was just turning from High and there were tons of Ringed Plover and quite a few Dunlin feeding on the recently uncovered tideline all were fairly easily spooked, nice to see in such numbers nevertheless.
The Sandmartins are still here in quite large numbers (It has been a fantastic year for them at Killard) and it cannot be long before they head southwards again. There are lots of butterflies about settling on the Ragweed. Over the past week a couple of contractors have been pulling all the Ragweed and leaving it in black plastic bags to be picked up later, so the place is littered with bags. I have pulled Ragwort years ago on my parents farm in Donegal and I do not envy them there job. Infact I think they are doing a wonderful job.
I was about two thirds of my way round to Ben Dearg Beach when these two microlights came towards Killard from the Ards Peninsula they were flying quite low. I dont mind them but I do mind when they fly really low over the coastline disturbing everything.The Oystercatchers, Whimbrel, Curlew and Gulls were flying in every direction. It just put me in a mood.
This mood was to be lifted!!!! One of the things I like about spontaneous Bird Photography is that you never know what you are going to see and whether you are going to get nice images or not. As I got to the beach there seemed to be a few people at the far end and lots of Ringed Plover and Dunlin about. Again I couldnt get very close to them. I walked to the waters edge and chucked a stone in the sea for the dog when a flock of about 25 Knot flew past. I have only seen a few Knot at Killard in the last ten years so this was a nice surprise and then they landed about 50 yards away.
I walked slowly towards them and before long they took off again and flew down the beach and back again and this time landed about 20-30 feet away.
I then lay down on a soaking wet beach and crept closer and closer and meanwhile they edged closer and closer to me. Magical!!
Pickle was digging a hole in the beach and not interested in them thank goodness. I took lots of shots annoyingly I could rarely separate them. What was nice was that the background matched their colours. Then some people were walking towards me and the Knot flew away and out of sight. I left the beach on a total high!! Bird Photography is one of the best Drugs!!!
So what originally was very frustrating turned into a brill afternoon even if my front did get totally soaked!!
You can click on photos for a larger image except this one below which doesn't need to be blown up as it is big enough already ;-)