Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Expect the Unexpected!

Do you ever have a day when you decide where to go birding and then nothing really worked out as you expect?  Well that happened to me today although I am going to tell you about my morning in reverse order.  I walked round Ballymacormick point into Groomsport as I have done before (see post 10 &11 June).  Along with looking for birds I was also keeping my eyes peeled for butterflies and bees which I will tell you about in another post.

 
As I walked along the beach before I got to the path around the point, there were Common Tern diving however on the small island above were mainly Sandwich Tern and Gulls.
 
 
Sandwich Terns already starting to moult.
 
Some Common and Black headed Gulls with Sandwich Terns.
 
I had hardly gone too far along the path until a little boy was with his Mum and another young person were behind me.  The little boy who was probably about 5 or 6 years old struck up a conversation with me and when he saw me looking through my binoculars he wanted to know what I was doing.  So from then on until I reached Groomsport, we walked together and he was asking me many questions regarding the birds, butterflies and wild flowers.  It was lovely to find someone so young interested in nature and it certainly was not how I had expected my bird watching morning walk would have turned out.  His name was Jay and a very well mannered little boy he was and he was a joy to be able to share my passion for nature with him.
 
 
There is an adult Cormorant on the left and a young one to the right. There is also a Herring Gull on the rocks.
 
 
 Only one Redshank was seen.
 
 
 I had reasonable views of this young Stonchat above and below
 
 
 
 
I saw a small group of Starlings on the ground with a few young however the one above looked different.  The red on its head was probably due to him putting his head into a flower with red pollen. 
 
 
 
 
Above is an adult Herring Gull and below is a young one.
 
 
 
 
There were about two dozens House Sparrows having dust baths on the path and when I passed, a number of them sat on this farm gate.
 
So firstly, I did not expect such a lovely companion as Jay on my bird watching walk and secondly I did not except when I first reached the beach that there was a World Police and Fire Games (swimming open water) just about to start. These games take place every 2 years and this was the first time they had been held in Northern Ireland.  There were about 130 people taking part from countries all over the world and I managed to speak to quite a number of the competitors just before the start.
 
 
 There were 24 ladies, the oldest one was from Brazil and is on the right hand side of the photo below and they all wore pink hats whereas the men all had green hats and the oldest man to take part was an 80 years old.  I took a video and although I did a voice over, I did not realise until I saw and heard it, that there was a lot of background noise from the crowd.
 
 
All the competitors were gathered together and given their briefing.  There were 8 kayaks to help them go round the correct way around the course and before they started, one of the two rescue boats went round the course so that everyone know which was to go.   
 
 
 
 
That is the organiser in white and he was asking the competitors and crowd to give the TV camera a bit 'Northern Ireland Mexicon' wave.
 
 
Every competitor was micro chipped and before starting they had to walk under the arch to make sure it was on and working.
 
 
The men got ready, waited for the horn and then were off. 
 
 
This is a shot of the male swimmers as they head out to the first buoy. 
 
 
About 5 minutes later the ladies were ready and they were off.  The weather was just right for this event and the crowd were very supportive of the competitors by cheering them on.  They had to swim 2 miles and it was going to take an hour so I left before the winners arrived back home.
Enjoy the video of this event and turn off the sound if you like. 
 
It can be accessed at -
 
 http://youtu.be/yQYPoqQCvUA      If there is a black space below, click it. 

 
 


So, if you have never seen any of my posts before,
always 'Expect the Unexpected'!
I hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks you for visiting.  Please call again.
 
MANY THANKS TO ALL who commented on any of my post yesterday and I am linking this post with  WBW at http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com.au/

24 comments:

  1. Now that's an exciting day!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such an interesting day! I thought the walk with Jay was going to be the surprise. They could not have that swim right now in south FLorida, as there are hundreds of sharks migrating just offshore.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well Margaret, I think that is what I might call an interesting, eventful and surprising day. So kind of you to share your bird watching with young Jay - what a coincidence that his name is that of a bird too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rubber clad 'Birds' Maragaret, what can I say.{:))
    That is so nice about the lad that you spoke with, normally you are more likely to get verbal abuse from a distance as they ride by on a bike.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos of your day.

    ReplyDelete
  6. An exciting walk for you Margaret, always interesting walks but it was fun to read about your conversation with that sweet little boy, the starling with the red on his head was interesting, and finishing off with the swimmers. Goodness, how exciting that must have been to watch. Thank you Margaret, another great post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Margaret...well it may not have begun the way that you thought that it would, yet in the end, you got some wonderful images to share and I enjoyed the journey~

    ReplyDelete
  8. You had an eventful walk today Margaret, lots of birds to see, a young man to keep you on your toes, (it's good to know that there are some young people out there that are taking an interest in wildlife) and a sporting end. A great selection of images, I really like that Robin Red Starling!...[;o)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely blog, and what about the Sandwich Tern, superb.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Welcome Margaret! It is so nice to meet you and thank you for visiting my blog. What a fun experience it was to met that young boy. I am so glad that you shared your love of nature with him and answered all of his questions. I love finding the unexpected!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It was nice of the ladies to give the men a head start. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. glad you had a nice visit with jay. i like that odd starling wearing 'make-up'. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. That was quite a morning of surprises for you. Are there monetary prizes for the swimmers?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the red face starling and i hopem that wasn't the lady from Brazil that swam back to land.........great post.


    peter

    ReplyDelete
  15. What grand luck that you just happened to come upon this! I have not heard of it, but your pictures speak volumes! Sandwich Tern is such a funny name, do you know the reason for it? I looked it up, and the name of the man who discovered these birds is very close to the word sandwich, maybe that is why.

    ReplyDelete
  16. love the Tern colony. They are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Don't you just love it when photo opportunities pop us when you aren't expecting them?
    Beautiful photos of the birds. The red face on the starling is awesome. I also really like the one with all the sparrows lined up on the gate. It's very whimsical!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is a lovely walk...I was so interested in the birds and going along thinking birding thoughts...then wham, there was the Games!!!thanks so much for your comments. Are you sure the red on the bird is from pollen, it is so red...I am fascinated on how it got so red...cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is what we surprise, that brings excitement.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was amazed at all the different birds you encountered on your walk... and, then, there was Jay... and, then, the race! You had some very unexpected pleasures on your journey! beautiful photos of all. blessings ~ tanna

    ReplyDelete
  21. Don't you just LOVE these unexpected and so fun events when you are out and about! Your shots are lovely. I have never really done much birding, but am getting more interested and have begun trying to get some shots. How fun that you had a chance to visit with this little boy, and also to come unexpectedly on this event!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I enjoyed the birds but yes a real surprise; some very tough competition out there

    ReplyDelete
  23. This was full of good things, loved the pink swim hats, and there are so many birds, so many names how do you keep them all straight. Maybe the little Starling is a fashion trend setter-just love coming in here to visit with you Margaret!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your day may have ended up differently than expected but I am sure that little boy will always remember the sweet lady who took time to teach him about nature.

    ReplyDelete