Saturday, 27 December 2014

Birding along the County Down coast.

I am currently in Northern Ireland for Christmas with the future in-laws and wanted to get away from all the mad last minute shoppers in Newry centre so headed to quieter pastures on the Co. Down coast.
Just over an hours drive north to our starting point at Strangford Lough.The sky was blue and the sun was shining but that just lured you into a false sense of security as stepping out of the car you were hit with an icy blast of wind that took your breath away.
View over Strangford Lough.
This Grey Heron was the first bird to see as it took flight and flew across the morning sun.                  

Knots were huddled along the waters edge and Brent Geese were feeding among the weed.
A walk around Killyleagh harbour produced more sightings with Red Breasted Mergansers, Redshanks, Black-Headed Gulls.
Killyleagh Harbour, Co.Down.
Along the shore were a group of Turnstones playing out their own version of "Fight Club"
On the shingle Rock Pipits foraged among rocks ;)

also joined by a Pied Wagtail.
Following the coast further south the next stop was Dundrum estuary just north of Murlough National Reserve.
The estuary was alive with Gulls, Lapwings, Wigeon, Oystercatchers and a pair of Black Tailed Godwits.
The estuary.

One of 100+ Oystercatchers at Dundrum.
The distant pair of Black Tailed Godwits.
Continuing down into Newcastle where the temperature was not much warmer and the tide was high so we checked out the local boating lake.A Grey Heron & Cormorant were resting on the island and a solitary Grey Wagtail flew by.
The Black Headed Gulls were in full voice and one accidentally swam into a leaf which then started a game of chase and catch.
Jackdaws called and looked at us inquisitively wondering if we were going to produce any food.
Jackdaw siamese twins?
Sticking to the coastal road through Kilkeel , Warrenpoint and back to Newry we saw more Gulls, Cormorants and 100s of Oystercatchers resting in Warrenpoint playing field.
Arriving back into Newry just to have a quick bit of Urban Birding with plenty of Mallards, Gulls and Mute Swans outside the shopping centre,
and a Cormorant fishing on the canal.
A great relaxing day out birding and back to the house to warm up with a dram or three of Whiskey:)
Thanks for reading.
Happy New Year to you all.

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