Saturday, 30 April 2011

Bird News Saturday 30th April

In Co. Down:
3 Dotterel were at Ballyquintin Pt., Ards Peninsula (take the path to viewpoint right from the carpark to the viewpoint - birds in the large ploughed field on the right). 22 Whimbrel were along the shore (David Nixon)

A Swift was over Hillsborough

In Co. Londonderry:
A Wood Sandpiper was in the southwest corner of Lough Beg (David Steele) 6 White Wagtail and 2 Golden Plover were also present. 60 Whimbrel and 100 Black-tailed Godwit were on the westshore, 3 Swift and 20 Common Tern were over the Beg

2 Swifts were at Ballyronan (Mark Smyth)

In Co. Antrim:
A male Hen Harrier and 7 Red Grouse were at Slemish. 7 Crossbill  and 12 Siskin were at Shillinavogey Wood (Ed O'Hara)

2 Swifts were just outside Antrim Town (Mark Smyth)

In Co. Armagh:

Lady's Bay, Lough Neagh, had 15 Whimbrel and 2 Wheatear (Ed O'Hara)

Bird(s) of the day?......yup, I'd vote for that!!!!

Below: Easiest Spot the Bird Quiz in the universe?

 Above: Not the place you want to be when the Strangford ferry's full and about to sail.


.......only to be repeated half an hour later! Finally got on nearly an hour from when I arrived! Add to that the fact I ran out the door and left my keys inside, lost a fiver, had to get petrol, missed the ferry over by less than a minute and forgot where Ballyquintin was when I got there. Class birds though - thanks David!!

Turkey Update:
Yes, if you hadn't guessed it already Derek has left me in the lurch again. Lurch has now been appointed my middle name - if you want you can just call me that to my face, I won't mind (although I might harbour a deep-seated hatred that will fester, sated only by exacting shock and awe revenge)

Anyway, off to Turkey he went (hidden inside the luggage of Chris Baines).......

'Turkish airlines great, free paper, food and drink and theygave me 3 seats to myself. I hate talking to people, result. Rip-off Turkey however a different story. 20yoyos visa before I could get kissing the tarmac. Stern boys at passport control but I stared them out. He seemed to appreciate my efforts. Lost everyone'

That was yesterday, now they're in the money......

'Smyrna Kingfisher, 20 Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, 20 Yellow-vented Bulbul, 3 Broad-billed Sands, Long-legged Buzzard, 50 Collared Pratincoles, 10 Spur-winged Plover, 2 Shore Lark, 2 Tawny Pipit, 2 Graceful Prinia, Finsch's Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch, 100 Rock Sparrow, 10 Black-headed Bunting, 2 Ortolan Bunting'

(the astute among you may have picked up on the phrase 'harbour a deep-seated hatred that will fester, sated only by exacting shock and awe revenge', which equally applies to the above sightings.)

Fuerteventura Update!!
Thanks again to the Hadricks

'For our cafe culture followers we have to say the seafood here is fantastic even though you ahve to stay up half the night before you can eat it. We finally found the Sidra bar, typically on hte last day, so going there for lunch tomorrow. Back to no birds on Sunday'

(By the way no birds isn't the same as the nobirds lads)

Finally: We got a couple of nasty phone calls and some really vicious texts from J. Stalin and A. Hitler. They're a really nasty pair so you can't blame us for wanting to keep all our teeth and putting some of their pics on. Jim likes gulls and Adrian likes waders. It's a good night from me.....and seeing as this is now a one-man's a goodnight from me (cue theme music)

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Spot the Bird (Part 245)

Answer to 244: Ring-billed Gull


Thanks to Stephen Longster for this absolutely disgusting photograph, we're not sure if it's rude but it is disgusting.

Phylum: Annelida
Class: Hirudinea. 
A type of worm.
The species photographed is a freshwater leech of the round bodied type which carries its eggs around its body in a sac and then sloughs off the sac at hatching time.
I admit my knowledge of blood sucking worms is limited to a few individuals. So if there are any leech experts out there I am willing to be corrected/better informed 
It was at the Loch Lomond NNR taken in July 2010. In the bottom left hand corner you can see another Leech. If memory serves; the sluice board that the Leeches were on, had quite a few of these fat blood suckers.
As a medieval pharmacy, it is quite well stocked, 800 years ago it could have been quite lucrative find.
By the look of the leech, it was only at the start of the egg laying process, and there were many more to go.

More Moths - 30th April

Here's a shot of Scalloped Hazel Odontopera bidentata

Friday, 29 April 2011

Bird News Friday 29th April

If there's no bird news here yet it's because mad things are happening.

Aha!! Was it all just another elaborate hoax?

In Co. Down:
A Cuckoo was at Murlough NNR (Dan Bailie)

A Red Kite was seen again over the Blackstaff River and a Whimbrel was still at Ardilea

2 Chiffchaff, 3/4 Blackcap and a Willow Warbler were at Castle Espie

A Stock Dove was at Delamont

30 Chiffchaff, 45 Willow Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 20 Sedge Warbler, a Raven and a Sparrowhawk were along Newry Canal.

70 Whimbrel were at Rossglass and a pair of Pintail at Strand Lough

In Co. Londonderry:
3 Wood Warbler and 6 Crossbill were at Banagher Glen.

A 1st summer Little Gull, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, 6 Golden Plover, 35 Whimbrel and a Whitethroat were at Bann Estuary

In Co. Armagh:
100+ Whimbrel and 7 Tree Sparrow were at Reedy Flats (Ed O'Hara). 

7 Jays and a Grey Wagtail were at Gosford Forest Park (Neil McCartney). The Guinea Fowl escapes now total at 4 - if seen do not approach as apparently these ones are vicious (recently escaped from a high security prison)

In Co. Antrim:
A Raven was at Slemish Mountain near Ballymena

Thanks to David Nixon and Phillip McHaffie for the following Co. Antrim smorgasbord of sightings:

Capanagh, 5 Red Grouse (3 seen, 2 heard), 8 Crossbills in flight.

South of Shilnavogy Forest, 3 pairs of Lapwings with 10 very small young (3, 3 + 4).

Shilnavogy/Jockeysquarter, 2 Whinchats + 1 mostly white Hare

Ballypatrick Forest, 20 Green Hairstreaks, 60+ Orange Tips & 20 Large Red Damselflies.

Slievenorra Forest, 9 Crossbills (1 male and 8 females/juveniles)

Shelton North, (near Slievenorra) 2 Grasshopper Warblers heard.

During the day we also saw around 12 Wheatears and had sightings of Hen Harrier, Merlin, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard

A Wood Warbler, 2 male Siskin, 8 Crossbill and a Buzzard were at Banagher Glen. A first summer Little Gull, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, 6 Golden Plover, 35 Whimbrel and a Whitethroat were at Bann Estuary (David Campbell).

Fuerteventura Update!!
How long are the Hadricks planning on staying  in the Canaries, who knows?

'Hi Guys, just been fed now down to drink, I mean birds. Larry and Barry must have taken a wrong turning as we saw them down at Catalina Garcia south of Tuineje. We went to this small reserve as we were getting cold turkey for waders - Spoonbill, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Ruddy Shelduck, Coot, Moorhen, Buzzard, Canary, Bertie's, Linnet, Trumpeter Finch and finally caught up with Barbary Partridge (not in pens!). Came back throught eh mountains - Buzzard, loads of Ravens and fed crumbs to the ground squirrels. Bertie's and Spanish Spuggy also present. And yet again now to the drink'

and from the day after....

'Rest day - just two Egyptian Vultures from the pool'

Thanks to Andrew Poots for this pic of a Collared Dove

In the meantime stick the theme tune to Desert Island Discs on in the background and stare at these bird pics sent to us from Winston Churchill and FDR - as weird as this sounds Winnie and Frankie were taking photos of the same birds at exactly the same time from different angles using the same type of camera! How weird is that?! They were only standing a few feet apart and didn't even realise, oh how we laughed we when all realised what had happened (we had some pics sent in from a Mr. A. Hitler and J. Stalin but we've been told they're very bad people)

Thanks to Spike Milligna for pointing out this pertinent fact about Spot the Bird 240:

'Ye bunch of ejits, that's a klingon warbird if ever I saw one. White-winged Black Tern my left foot!'

Finally, well done to Leonard Charles for getting to 124 so far this year - still on course to annihilate his all-time record of 141!!!

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Royal Wedding Day at Belfast Harbour RSPB

There were few visitors today at the Harbour Estate, what with the Wedding on TV, but staff amused themselves playing 'Fetch' with the gulls.

Thanks to Brian Douglas

Undercover Elephant

Using the Royal Wedding as cover i slipped across the border once more. I always new it would be an Alexander McQueen dress with a 5 foot train. And that everyone would be wearing a hat by some hat guy in the south (39 people!, thats a lot of hats at 5000 y0yos a touch.)
With a trip list of 3 i abandonded the car and checked in. Why is it always so much easier here than in Belfast? No asking if you packed it yourself, if you have a baby panda in your bag, no weighing hand luggage just a cheery hello and a quick wink with her left eye. Through security no problem after i explained to them that i had a metal plate in my head and thats why i kept setting the alarm bells off.
Moments later disaster struck, i got mugged. In broad daylight in Dublin Airport. 15 yoyos for Shepherd's Pie. Well, i wasn't having that but after the girl at the checkout explained she was in the Russian Mafia i had to cough up. It was good however with real mince and some nice vegatables. But 15 big yoyos i don't think so!!! I did nick some butter when she wasn't looking so that saved me 20 cents, a small victory against The MAN.
So i set about getting my own back. immediate success, free baileys and whiskey tasting. I think 16 free samples was a bit over the top but i had to wash the taste of Rip-off Ireland out of my mouth. I staggered towards Boots. Some 2 for 1 deal, i will have a bit of that, don't know what it is but it smells good. 34 yoyos bound to be good at that price and i suspect its pure alchohol into the bargain so will have a bottle on the plane.
Talents good however, despite being pie-eyed, and the good weather really brings the big girls out if you know what i mean. I suspect none of them are Dub Girls except for the load of girls (who like their food) who are going to Bernie's Hen Nite in Benidorm (pink t shirts!) I do hope Bernies future husband has a stag month and keeps drinking even on the day of the wedding, you really wouldn't want to sober up!
Decided to play the unattended bag game but like all airports they are all talk and no action and my bag hasn't been blown up yet! I live in hope.
Must go as they keep calling my name or at least i think it is as they keep saying Passenger Charles Final Call.

Cheery Pip


PS got completely ripped off on this internet thing, 39 cents a minute. I typed the quickest i ever typed in my life!
Should get bail in morning.

Spot the Bird (Part 244)

Answer to 243: Ring-necked Duck

More Tales from Belfast Harbour RSPB

Good News!!

The Tern Island Trampoline  tests have proved successful.

Reuters Report that as of today B headed Gulls maintain Air Superiority overhead the Tern Islands. Thanks to Brian Douglas for the update!

More Moths 29th April

Here's a pic of Scorched Carpet Ligdia adustata

If Derek was about he'd say something like beezer or weeker I'm sure.

Potato Muncher!!

Aaaargh, look what I found in my spud patch munching on my lovely spuds - a Common Cockchafer Melolontha melolontha larva!!! Or as I like to call the potato-destroying brute...chicken food!!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Important Announcement!

Over the next ten days or so this blog is going into Meltdown. You will notice some significent changes, ie maybe very few or no posts.
This is because we have recieved a high court injunction from a Mr Pantymime Horse and we have been told to calm our act down.
That and our Doctors have signed us both into an Institution where we will be fed Puried Vegatables through a drip and given 8 little white tablets everyday.
When we return i would like to say that the blog will improve dramatically with just bird news and a bird photo a day with definately no Moths, Butterflys, Cockroachs, Orchids and assorted rubbish. Despite our retraining this may be difficult!

Andrew and Derek

ps keep sending us bird news, photos and ideas as we'll find a way to update from our padded cells. By the way Spot the bird will continue daily. Seemingly you are not a real bird blog unless this is done 365 days of the year. There may be a few moths kicking about as well!!!! (only hardcore bird blogs have moths, everyone knows that!!)

Bird News Thursday 28th April

In County Down
The 2nd calender year Ring-necked Duck was still at Temple Water, Castleward 

A Cuckoo was at Murlough and 2 Stock Dove and a Whimbrel at Ardilea. (Leonard Charles)

In Co. Armagh:
A Cuckoo was at Peatlands Park

In Co. Londonderry:
A late Fieldfare was at Rigged Hill and 6 Greenland Wheatear were at Temain Hill nearby

In Co. Tyrone:
A Cuckoo was at Maghery

In Co. Antrim:
A Common Sandpiper was at the top of Slemish 

In County Donegal
3 Golden Eagles were at an undisclosed site (Willy McNamara)

In County Mayo
2 Bee - Eater were at Tarmon, Belmullet. (Dave Suddaby)

In County Louth
An Iberian Chiff Chaff is at Townley Hall Drogheda.

Here's some lovely pics to keep you all happy in your sad and lonely moments

Late News from Yesterday:
In Co. Antrim:
A Swift was over Parkgate, Templepatrick (Paul Lynas)

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Only a fool doesn't look at irishbirding

For other juicy info: British Birding Association , Birdguides

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder and irishbirdimages

.......and if you don't look at this, you're mental - Binocularface

'Nobirds', 'Not Interesting Boring Association' and 'You've been stiltoned!' are © Nibirding Productions

Orcillas Holiday Photos

Things are going from bad to worse for Dave and Orcilla on their holiday in Fuerteventura. Last night someone broke in and stole the contents of their drinks cabinet. 2000 yo yos up in smoke. They have had to go to the British Embassy for an emergency loan for more drink. At the embassy Dave got into a fight with one of the cleaners it was very embarrasing.
To top it all Orcilla has befriended a male Yellow Legged Gull and spends all day sitting on the beach with him and his friends while Dave hides and watches on from the Bush's. They are only friends Orcilla says but he is much more exciting than Dave.
But Dave is no shrinking violet either and has struck up a friendship with a rather shy Houbara Bustard who has become infatuated with Dave and is following him around. Orcilla has sent the photographic proof. To be honest we hope the Royal Wedding and the Emergency Drink Loan will bring Dave and Orcilla back together. Phew i definately need a holiday! Thanks to Orcilla for the photos! Very good if i say so myself!

Sent from Orcillas iphone

Spot the Bird (Part 243)

Answer to 242: Citrine Wagtail


I have to say i don't think we have ever had anything as beuatiful as this on the blog ever! Its Gentiana verna and photographed by Mark Smyth on the Burren. Abssolute WoW!

Thanks also to Mark Smyth for this Garden Shaffer! I am off to the Travel Agents to book myself a holiday!

More Moths 28th April

Here's some rubbish shots of Dark-barred Twin-Spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata (both forms)