Birds of County Down

I’m getting the best of both worlds at the moment, splitting my time between two homes, one in the city and one in the country.

From the Distant Drumlin it’s only a short drive to the coast.  On Monday I walked along the North Down Coastal Path, on the shore of Belfast Lough.  The sun was out; the tide was out; the birds were out; and we humans had come out to enjoy the first day of spring-like weather.

The Irish coast is a winter home for many birds, and I spotted an Oystercatcher, a Turnstone and a Common Redshank. I didn’t get very close to the birds, but these wider photos do show you how calm and peaceful the Irish coast can be, even after a stormy, wet winter.

OYSTERCATCHER and reflection.
OYSTERCATCHER and reflection.

But the coolest bird around the Distant Drumlin is this one – the sparrowhawk.  I snapped him in 2011, just before I went to India, and didn’t have a chance to show him off before today.  The website for Birdwatch Ireland explains the reason for the sparrowhawk perching on this particular fence.  It’s the thing that you can’t see, just beyond the edge of the photo – a birdfeeder, attracting blue tits, goldfinches, chaffinches and robins.  Little wonder that a bird of prey was hanging around.


13 thoughts on “Birds of County Down

    1. Thank you. There are so many good blogs about birds, with close-up photos showing every feather and claw. Mine aren’t in that league, but they are good reminders of a lovely walk.
      At least these birds stayed on the ground long enough to be photographed. Yesterday I tried to sneak down to a flooded field that is now home to geese and ducks. That was my third attempt, and I still have no photos. I rattle the gate as I climb over it, or I unzip the camera bag, or I stand on a branch, or I just breathe, and the birds all fly away.
      I’ve been told the secret is to visit them at the same time every day, with food, until the ducks learn to trust me. The advice came from a hunter, who wins the birds’ confidence, then shoots them. I only want to take photos!


    1. I can see why the small birds fly so quickly out of the hedges to the feeder and back again. No point in hanging around to become breakfast for a hawk.


  1. I’m appalled at the person who gains the birds’ trust . . . and then takes their lives! 😦 Even if I considered hunting a sport (which I certainly DO NOT), this is a despicable thing way to conduct oneself – exceedingly unsportsmanlike! Shame!!!

    Virtual hugs,



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