30 May 2012

Willow Warbler

My next door neighbour came and asked me what bird has been calling persistently for the last three days around our houses. I told him it was a Willow Warbler. It has been very very persistent. This morning it started at 5.30am and it just hasn't stopped since. I am listening to it now.

Earlier this morning I heard another one calling on the far side of my garden and immediately the original bird went into only what I can describe as display mode. Flying towards the other bird with its wings outstretched and landing in bushes or on the electricity lines and fluttering them. It was the first time that I had witnessed this type of behaviour.

It has been flying  all around the house and perching on the chimney, roof, tables, clothesline all the time singing away. Just lovely

Willow Warbler singing from rose bush

Willow Warbler displaying

Willow Warbler displaying

Willow Warbler in Ash tree

Willow Warbler in Hawthorn Bush

Willow Warbler on Chimney

Willow Warbler on Clothes Line

Willow Warbler on Roof

Willow Warbler on Rose stem

Willow Warbler on Table

Willow Warbler in habitat

9 May 2012

A Few Year Ticks at Killard and The Photograph I did Not Take

I was off today and as it was the first one in a while where there was some nice light I headed out to Killard Nature Reserve. One of the birds I was hoping to see was a Whitethroat as I have yet to see one this year. Normally I see my first ones between the 20th and 25th of April in a hedge leading out to the reserve. This morning there was no Whitethroat song coming from the hedge apart from a Dunnock and some Linnets.
There was a Kestrel overhead and as I made my way onto the reserve proper and up onto the upper level I heard the unmistakeable sound of a Whitethroat. It was nice to know they are back.

Whitethroat Singing

Whitethroat on Gorse

I then continued over to the beach and walked towards a Raven's Nest that is perched on the cliffs and  looked to see how big the five chicks were getting. They can't be far from fledging. As I was approaching them a few Whimbrel flew from the upper tide line down to the rocks at the waters edge. Near the Raven's nest is an area where Sand Martins breed and I always try and get a photo but they are difficult to say the least.
Sand Martin
 I continued my walk and there were Wheatears everywhere but none were in close range. I came up to the area where the Green-winged Orchids were in full bloom. This particular spot is the only place in Ireland where they grow.

Green-winged Orchid
 As I was nearing the end of my walk there was a lot of noise from a pair of Sandwich Terns perched on a rock a few metres off shore. As I was lying down photographing them this Meadow Pipit popped up on a rock with a mouthful of flies right beside me.

Sandwich Terns
Meadow Pipit with a Feast of Flies

Now the "Photograph I did not take" was very frustrating. I popped into Downpatrick to pick up some petrol for my lawnmower and as I was almost into the town I looked up and saw what I thought was an Osprey. It was. It then flew towards the Quoile river hovered and plunged down out of sight. I parked the car ran to the waters edge and by this time it was heading off down the river past the Quoile Countryside Centre. So I ran back to car and drove to the first parking space beyond the centre and there close in it was hovering before diving into the river. This was happening no further than 20 yards in front of me and I didn't have my camera or my binoculars :-(   On the one hand it was so exciting watching it yet on the other not being able to photograph it was galling. On the plus side there was a father and his two children walking by and I called them over to have a look and they were thrilled to see the Osprey having never seen one before.