Friday, 26 April 2013

RSPB visited early morning

As I had to go to Belfast today, I left early to see if the Yellow Wagtail was at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve.  It was not there before I left although people had seen it yesterday.  Although I didn't see the Yellow Wagtail, there were plenty of other birds to see.  There were many Black headed Gulls that had started nesting on the Tern Islands and one wonders if the Terns don't come soon in great numbers, there will not be enough space left for them to nest!

These 2 Black headed Gulls decided to make a nest away from all the others
I only saw one Common Tern today and that was not on one of these Islands.  There were numerous Oystercatchers,  a few Redshanks and Lapwings, 2 ringed Plover, 2 Heron, Wood Pigeon, Reed Bunting, a couple of Pied Wagtail, a good number of Coots that had built nests, Moorhen along with the usual ducks such as Shelduck, Teal, Shoevler, Wigeon and Mallard.  I saw 2 dead Gulls that I am sure the Warden will remove and there were also Lesser Black backed and Common Gulls.  I was surprised that I only saw 1 Swallow.

One of the volunteers scattered bird seed in front of the hide to try ad encourage birds to come closer and it eventually worked as Black tailed Godwits landed near us.  the video below is a bit misty as it started to rain on the window!

Black tailed Godwit
There are 2 Konik ponies on the Reserve.  These ponies are the nearest ponies to wild tarpan horses that became extinct in 1890.  Fortunately a local Polish farmer had a few and he bred them with domesticated horses and some have retained their wild streak.   In 1936 Professor Vetulani of Poland selected 20 of these horses  to breed back a close tarpan - like primitive horse.  The result was the Konik Pony and these ponies on the Belfast reserve as well as the Portmore Reserve are direct descendants from the original 20.  These ponies are important as they remove the emerging vegetation that would otherwise form a dense belt along the water's edge.  This opens up wide areas and allows many smaller plants to grow, which is good for nesting birds and insects.
Konik ponies
As I walked along the path out of the Reserve, there were lots of birds singing such as Goldfinch, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Greenfinch, all dashing around the trees and difficult to photograph.  This Greenfinch below was the best I could do as I was in a hurry.


  1. Great Godwit video Margaret. Certainly paid off feeding them. :-)
    I don't think the Terns will get a look in on that raft.

    1. I tend to agreed with you regarding the Tern Island so I will have to keep my eye on it. AAppartnely most of the Terns came in last year at the beginning of May so it will be interesting if the same happens this year.