Saturday, 13 April 2013

Birding at Belvoir Forest Park & RSPB Rererve

It had been reported that there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Belvoir Forest Park and as I had not visited Belvoir for some time I thought I would go birding there today.   I parked the car just outside the Headquarters of the RSPB.
In their grounds there was a grey Squirrel feeding on the ground, however there are Red Squirrels in the Park but I did not see any today, .
Grey Squirrel
I have to tell you from the start, I never heard nor saw the Great Spotted Woodpecker however as I walked through the forest there was a lot of bird song and good views of Coal, Blue and Great Tit as well as a couple of pairs of Long tailed Tit.  Just as I was watching them, 2 pairs of Goldcrest were in a tree next to where I was standing.
Who's looking at you baby! - Goldcrest
There were the usual Blackbird, Chaffinch, Starling, Wood Pigeon, 4 Tree Creeper, Jay with Rook and Jackdaws flying over the trees.  
Tree Creeper -I know the photos has too must light!
As I walked though the forest, there was a carpet of Wood Anemone which lite up the whole area.
Anemone Nemorosa - Close up of Wood Anemone
As I reached the river there were Mallard and Moorhen.

I crossed the river on a bridge arriving at the old Lockkeeper's House and a fairly new restaurant.  I could not get over all the people that were in the park today even though it was  lovely sunny day but then I realised there was a charity cycle ride, people running to get fit for the up coming marathon, others walking their dogs and children out looking for a 'monster'!  Not wonderful conditions for bird watching, just too much traffic, nevertheless I was enjoyed the day.
Lockkeeper's house -original
Lock Keeper's Restaurant - new
I walked along the toe path and saw this friendly Robin taking in the rays of sunshine.  There ere 2 Mistle Thrush who were getting very annoyed with a Hooded Crow as obviously they had a nest nearby but the Crow retreated eventually and the Thrush quieted down.
Old wooden bridge across the River Lagan
I had to cross this bridge before returning to the car for my picnic.

Then off to the RSPB Reserve in Belfast Harbour Road.  There is always a friendly atmosphere at the reserve and a friend who is a volunteer there made me a very welcome coffee.  To the right of the reserve there are bird feeders and so we can see lots of Greenfinch and Goldfinch along with all the Tits at close quarters.  There were numerous Black-tailed Godwit just outside the viewing window and most were in their breeding plumage.  This is one that had been tagged and probably was from Iceland.  There were 2 others with tags.

The 3 tagged photographed Godwit will be sent to the BTO for identification and they will let me know the information.  Suddenly a Common Tern was spotted and then another, both diving right outside the window of the reserve.  One of them decided to sit on this post which was fortunate for me so I could take a 'reasonable' photo.  Some people has 500mm lenses and must have got a wonderful shot.  However I must remember to be content with the camera I have.

Just as we all had got excited about the Terns, all the birds in the reserve lifted and sure enough, there was a Peregrine in the air.

After all the birds settle down again, we had another surprise.  My first Swallow seen this year(along with everyone else at the reserve). It didn't stay long, but we had good views of it.  Mostly on the far side of the water there were numerous Oystercatcher, Gulls, Wigeon, Teal, 4 Shoveler, 2 Heron, Coot, Redshank, Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and of course the reserves 2 ponies.

Just in front of the viewing window several Reed Bunting landed and this is photo of one of them.

This photo below shows one of the man-made island where both the Common and Arctic Gulls come to breed every year.

The last 2 photos are closer shots of Black-tailed Godwits.

1 comment:

  1. What a great selection of birds you saw Margaret.
    I'm still waiting to see my first Common Tern of the year.
    Nice pose from the Goldcrest; they always look grumpy to me, and I love those Black-tailed Godwits.