Sunday, 30 August 2009

Mace and Manxies...27th August

The plan this morning was to drive round the coast from Strangford past the Northern Ireland seawatching mecca of St. John's Point (not to be confused with the one in Donegal), around Dundrum Bay, along the coast to Carlingford Lough and head back through the Mourne Mountains birding as we went.

Our first port of call was Cloghy Rocks on the southwest shore of Strangford Lough, very close to where the Lough opens to the sea. This is a view point renowned as a place to see Common Seals and this morning we had 19 hauled out on the rocks. We had few birds here other than a couple of Barwits and a Hooded Crow.

Cloghy Rocks

Next stop was Kilclief where we had a few waders feeding on the muddier margins of a small stream running across the shore inlcuding this badly digi-binned Dunlin below.

On the shore at Killard NNR my heart nearly skipped a beat when I tried to string two distant Snipe into Dowitcher sp.'s. At first I couldn't see them well and it was the fact that they were feeding on the shore, but they were indeed Common Snipe! Two Hooded Crows and Greenshank fed nearby also.

We stopped just to the west of St. John's Point overlooking Dundrum Bay and there were good numbers of Manxies feeding out in the bay. Now at this point 'her indoors' was whinging about some lunch, so I whisked her back into the village of Killough, stopped at the local Mace store, and bought a slap-up lunch of pre-packed sandiwches and crisps and sped back to where we had stopped to seawatch over lunch!

The wind was a fairly strong southwesterly and the Manxies, Gannets and Kittiwakes were getting blown into Dundrum Bay and struggling close past the headland back out to sea. I only had my bins with me but we had stonking views of Manxies, Kittis and Gannets close in. In total we had 312 Manxies past as we ate lunch.

Looking across Dundrum Bay to
cloud covered Mourne Mountains

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