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.
Turnstone
TURNSTONE
COMMON REDSHANK
COMMON REDSHANK

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.

Hawk
SPARROWHAWK
Advertisements

13 Comments Add yours

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      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!

      Like

      1. Aw, what a rotten tactic!

        You may have to camp out there overnight 😉

        Like

  1. Kim in Fiji says:

    Good grief! I never ever considered that a bird feeder could act like round up to serve a carnivore! Lots of fun – thanks for posting.

    Like

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      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.

      Like

  2. linnetmoss says:

    Is there anything as calming to the spirit as birds on the shore? Thanks for these lovely photos. The sparrow hawk is especially stunning. I hope to see that countryside one day!

    Like

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      You’re right – it was a peaceful scene. Even the gulls were quiet.

      Like

  3. judilyn says:

    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,

    Judie

    Like

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Don’t worry – I have no intention of harming the birds. But their fear of hunters makes it difficult for photographers.

      Like

      1. judilyn says:

        Oh, I knew YOU weren’t the hunter – except with a lens. ;->

        Like

  4. What delightful photos! Glad you don’t need to resort to nefarious tactics to attract your subjects. 😉

    Like

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Thank you. And I promise I didn’t deliberately set up the birdfeeder to attract the hawk!

      Like

Now it's over to you - leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s