Friday 31 October 2014

WEEKEND REFLECTIONS - Ducks and Grey Heron at Kiltonga Lake

This post is still featuring my bird class outing and all the bird shots are taken at Kiltonga Lake.  Once again, thanks to Danny who is an new member of the group, some of the shots are his.

Black headed gull and Shoveler.

When I discovered there were Gadwell on the faraway bank of the lake, I pointed them out to Danny first so he could take photographs while I organised that the rest of the groups saw them through my telescope.  It was difficult for some of the group to distinguish between a female Gadwell and a female Mallard especially when they were not with their own males however all managed it in the end.  There is a male Shoveler on the right of this shot

Mallard female and Gadwell female

Mallard female, Gadwell female and juvenile Herring gull.  I hope you have been able to distinguish the differences the different ducks.

This last shot is of the bird group (taken at the Flood gates – Tuesday’s post) and where Danny who is the member in the black hat, is setting up his camera to photograph the Brent geese.  Many thanks to him for his contribution of photographs in this post enabling me to do some more teaching.

I hope you enjoyed this post and encourage you will look in tomorrow as I am showing you a group of Elephants that we had to back off from in a game park in Malawi.

I am linking this post with WEEKEND REFLECTIONS.

Thank you for visiting and also for leaving your kind comments.

Thursday 30 October 2014

GOOD FENCES - Bird Class & Autumn colours

Following on from Monday’s post when I took my bird class to the Flood Gates and then to Kiltonga Lake, these are some more of the shots I took that day.  After that I made my way to Bangor Walled Garden where I took the rest of the photographs.  I am linking this post with GOOD FENCES. So enjoy and may your Thursday be a bright one.

Aiden is looking though my telescope at the thousands of Pale bellied Brent and much more.

Some more of the groups at the Flood Gates above and 
 below, later when we stopped for coffee.

This is the Lake at Kiltonga where tomorrow 
I will be showing you some of the birds we saw.

The gardeners have started planting for the spring season ahead and here you see the Pansies. So enjoy the rest of the colourful plants I photographed.



I hope you enjoyed this post and I thanks you for visit today.

Many thanks to all those who leave comments.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

MALAWI - Eland Antelope at Game Haven Park

This is a short post because these Eland Antelope appeared very suddenly on the right of the vehicle and disappeared within a minute back into the bush.  The Bull brought up the rear.  Males are bigger than females.  Their coat differs geographically, with Elands in north Africa having distinctive markings (torso stripes, markings on legs, dark garters and a spinal crest) that are absent in the south. Apart from a rough mane, the coat is smooth.

Both sexes have horns with a steady spiral ridge (resembling that of the bushbuck). The horns are visible as small buds in newborns and grow rapidly during the first seven months.  The horns of males are thicker and shorter than those of females and have a tighter spiral. Males use their horns during rutting season to wrestle and butt heads with rivals, while females use their horns to protect their young from predators.  

The Eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 25 miles per hour that tires them quickly.  However, they can maintain a 14 miles per hour trot indefinitely.  They are capable of jumping up to 8 ft 2 in from a standing start when startled, 9.8 ft for young Elands. It's life expectancy is generally between 15 and 20 years; in captivity some live up to 25 years.

Usually, a female chooses the most dominant and fit male to mate with. Sometimes she runs away from males trying to mate, causing more attraction. This results in fights between males, in which their hard horns are used. It is 2–4 hours before a female allows a male to mount. Males usually keep close contact with females in the mating period. The dominant male can mate with more than one female.[  Females have a gestation period of 9 months, and give birth to only one calf each time.

I have a very short video that can be accessed at

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.

This is yet another animal that I had never seen before so I hope you enjoyed the post.

Thank you for you or visit and also to those who leave comments.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Bird Group goes to the Flood Gates.Newtownards

My bird group went to the Flood Gates in Newtownards where about 30,000 Pale bellied Brent geese had arrived from Iceland. We were also pleased to see that the Pintail ducks had arrived for the winter.  We had a new member called Danny with a big camera and some of the shots are his and I will be showing more photographs from this morning’s outing on Thursday and Friday. All in all,  we saw 30 different species of birds in just over 2 hours.

Also this post is especially for Jo from Memorable Meanders as last week she said she had never seen a Brent goose or Pintail duck.  Above is a mixture of Brent and Pintail.

Pintail above and below.


Oystercatcher and Pale bellied Brent goose

Some of the bird class – not much bird watching going on there!!

Mr and Mrs Mallard

Pintail with 1 Shelduck

Pale bellied Brent goose

We moved from the flood Gates to Kiltonga Lake where this Grey Heron had just taken off along with the Black headed gull.

The Grey Heron landed on this blue container (above) 
before taking off again (below)

Now, the next day, was the day of quite high winds and I thought you might  like to see a few shots as I made my way around the coast at my town.  There were 7 naval ships on exercises in the Lough along with many more ships sheltering.

Birds were trying to keep their feet on the ground.  Above is an adult Herring gull and below is a juvenile Herring gull.



Now I have a short video of the some of the birds I saw at the Flood Gates (the second clip I have made in slow motion) and the birds taking to the air are the Brent geese.  I have added the video of the rough seas in Belfast Lough.

It can be accessed at

If there is a black space below, click  it and the video will appear.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this mixed post.  Thank you Danny for your contribution.  

I am linking this post with WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY. Thank you for visiting and also for all your comments