Sunday, 20 January 2013

Ballyquintin in the gale 18-20 January

SE gale on Friday 18th, blowing full on to Ballyquintin point. I went down to take a look, and to see if there was any shelter at all with that kind of wind .... and there wasn't. Nearly blown off my feet going to the coastguard lookout. Birds were moving out at sea, but nothing identifiable without any protection. A little better at Barr Hall Bay, on the western side of the point, and the green-winged teal was still around, but that was it.

Shore near Port Kelly, N of Ballyquintin farm, in the gale. 18 January 2013

Winds were forecast to decrease, but still strong enough, and still SE-E over the weekend. On Saturday 19th I looked in briefly, and found a flock of 20 fieldfare lurking in the hedge at Templecowey. Bleak at the Ballyquintin NT car park, but 50 teal on one of the farm ponds were a little unusual. Barr Hall Bay was better, though. A great northern diver was out in the bay (the first I have seen there), along with some red-breasted mergansers, and a few feral pigeons flew over. A group of teal also in the bay, but I didn't manage to pick out the green-winged fella.

I spent more time there today, still with a biting E-SE wind, and frequent vicious hail showers. The green-winged teal was showing fine in Barr Hall Bay. Out in Strangford Narrows, a flock of kittiwake caught my eye, and I found guillemots and razorbills on the water beneath them. Walking around the point produced very little, unsurprisingly, but the western fields on the headland were thick with corvids, starlings, gulls, linnets, pigeons and plovers. The linnet flock was large and held promise, but I failed to get a really good look at them. Even though it seemed like a pure flock, perhaps 500 strong, it was frustrating not to be sure there was nothing else with them. A few stock doves did show themselves nicely, however. A female merlin (probably the one I saw there last week) flashed around and kept the whole lot on the boil.

Some gentler weather would be nice, if anyone can fix that ... still haven't found a great tit on this patch!

68 species, 88 points.

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