Saturday, 6 April 2013

Birding at Whiterock

Once again, wall to wall sunshine although still very cold.  Today I decided to go down to cut the grass and wash an old caravan I have at Whiterock, Co. Down.  I call this caravan, ‘My Retreat’.  It is not in a traditional caravan park but a farmer’s field nestled between drumlins but overlooking the sea.   Such a wonderful situation for peace and quiet with no one to disturb you although no amenities either.  For me this is refreshing.  The farmer can have cattle in the field so there is a barbed wire fence around the caravan.

After the chores, I walked up the fields looking for birds, in particular, Yellow Hammers.   There are always lots of countryside birds like Robin, Dunnock, all the Tits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, numerous Greenfinch, at  least 6 song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, Blackbird and Starling.


Blackbird (F) 
Above is an unusual looking female Blackbird that has aberrant plumage.

Song Thrush
 In one field there was a bull, a cow and their calf.  Another field had a number of cows with their calves.  

However I never even heard a Yellow Hammer sing.  I met the farmer’s wife and she said the Yellow Hammers were up at her farm at present, just up the road.  On my return, 2 Snipe lifted from a marshy area.  Wood Pigeon abounded.

On one side of the caravan it was very warm and I had my lunch outside basking in the sun.  I thought I would stay overnight even though I had not made plans to do so. I had enough food and clothes.

After dinner I went down to the sea and walked along to Sketrick Island and round to Ballydorn Lightship. 
Sketrick Island
Ballydorn Lightship
 On the way, I passed, Rooks turning over the seaweed looking for food, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Pied Wagtail and the usual Gulls.  
Pair of  Shelduck
On my return to the caravan, knowing it was going to be a cold night, I dressed for bed, with nearly as many clothes as I wear bird watching!!! Watched a movie on my laptop and saw the sunset disappear over the drumlins.

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