Thursday, 7 March 2013

Birding Around the Ards Peninsula

After two hours of dancing in the morning, I boarded the bus for Newtownards with all my birding gear and was met at the station by my birding partner, Jimmy in his car. It was a very gloomy and misty day. Our plan was to bird down the Ards Peninsula and look and find at least some of the 36 Slavonian Grebes which had been reported few days ago.  I have to report that the weather conditions were not good, however we did our best in the rain but neither going or coming home did we ever see one Grebe!  Nevertheless, we were not disappointed with the birds we did see as we travelled down as far as Portaferry, then returning by Barr Hall, through Clougey to Kircubbin, stopping at Finlay's Road where we were greeted  to a wonderful sight of 400+ Golden Plover, Ringed Plover and Dunlin all on the shore before reaching Newtownards.

So in 3 hours of birding, we managed to see the following birds.  Brent and Greylag Geese, Teal, Shelduck, Eider and Mallard ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Red and Green Shanks, Turnstones, Black-tailed Godwits, Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, 1 Sandwich Tern, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, 1 Wren, Chaffinch, Hooded and Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Jays, Magpies, Blackbirds, Pied Wagtail, Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves, Mute Swans, Cormorants and Shags and 1 Buzzard.  The highlight of the afternoon was when we saw a murmuration of Starlings.  There were at least 500 of them and it was a wonderful spectacle watching the different patterns as they moved across the sky.

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