Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Birding From Bangor To Kearney

Although this was not an official bird watching day for my group, four of us decided that we would travel down the coastal route and arrive at The National Trust site at Kearney by 2.00pm where we were meeting the Nature group.  Two of the leaders of that group were going to talk and show us some geological rocks structures and flora in the area.

We first went to see the Black Guillemots at Bangor Pier and were delighted to see about 10 of them sun bathing and chatting on the pier.  We are always amazed just how close we can approached these little birds.

Black Guillemot sunning herself

We make our way to Groomsport, a very pretty village just 2 miles from Bangor.  There is a small Island in the Bay called Cockle Island and this is where the Sandwich, Common and Arctic Terns nest as well as the Black headed Gulls and the odd Herring Gull..
Part of Cockle Island, Groomsport

Although all the terns had not arrived yet, the Black headed Gulls were nesting and making a tremendous noise. Through the telescope and because the Island was in full  sun, we were able to find 20 Sandwich Terns mostly sitting in a group.  Their white body feathers shone brightly and their black head with their crests were a great contrast.  The yellow tip on their black bill shone like a belisha beacon.  There were a few Eider ducks swimming near the Island.   We walked round the head land and saw Reed Bunting, Robin, Sparrow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail and Swallow.

Reed Bunting

All down this coast there were Light bellied Brent Geese, some Bays had as few as 2 while others had 52 Geese.  Altogether there were 146 Geese seen from Bangor to Kearney and they were getting fattened up for the long flight to Arctic Canada where they will only spend about 2 months to breed before returning in the early autumn.  30,000 Light bellied Brent spend most of their lives in Northern Ireland where there is an abundance of their favourite food -eel grass.  Please watch this short video.

When we reached Ballywalter, it was time for coffee.  
These are the members enjoying the warmth of the sun.

We noticed there was quite a lot of Seaweed on the slipway and then a man arrived and explained that he had gathered it earlier this morning and was checking if it had totally dried out.  This, when dried out is known as Dulse (Palmaria palmata) and as a food is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content.

Dulse being dried out
On the beach at Ballywalter there were quite a number of Great Black backed Gulls 
and along the Pier was a Rock and Meadow Pipit.  

Rock Pipit
We travelled on, calling into Portavogie Harbour where there was only one Grey Seal hoping for a fish to be thrown to it from one of the fishing boats.

Grey Seal
Further along the coast we saw Whimbel and Curlew at South Portavogie and as we headed for Ballyquintin we saw Hooded Crow, Starling, Carrion Crow and Heron.  We had a picnic at Ballyquintin and watched 2 Gannets fishing.  Then it was time to go to Kearney to meet up with the Nature groups and we passed these two wonderful banks of daisies on either side of the tiny steam and found Linnets on one side of it.

Two banks of wonderful Daisies

You will have to wait until tomorrow to hear and see 
what I discovered at Kearney as it is after midnight!!

No comments:

Post a Comment