Monday, 3 June 2013

Burnt Out - Visit 15

For the first time this year a visit to the patch failed to add any new species to the year list. In fact very few new birds were seen this weekend as compared to last.  However, the main reasons for my visit on Saturday 1 June were to have a look at what damage the recent gorse fire has had on nesting birds and to enjoy the goings on of the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival.

Gorse fire

After seeing footage and images of the gorse fire during the week, I wasn’t so sure about the reported claims that “no important bird nests had been lost”.  Sure enough, even from the ferry it was quite clear that the fire had torn right through the Twite breeding site I had discovered only last week.  There was no sight or sound of the birds and the gorse bush under which I suspected a nest, was well and truly scorched.  This is terrible news for what is Northern Ireland’s rarest breeding finch.  Let’s hope they try again somewhere else on the island.
 Former Twite territory

It was great to see so many people visiting the island today. Only a few weeks ago I was the only passenger on the ferry!  Around the patch the few common warblers that were seen, mostly seem to be breeding birds now.  A pair of Pied Wagtails with freshly fledged young must have wondered what all the fuss was about in Church Bay as they tried to feed along the strand. 
                                                                                                         Clippers in Church Bay

 Home time...
 Heath Spotted Orchid

Juvenile Stonechat

The highlight of the day was finally managing to get a few images of 1 of the 2 presumed Common Redpolls seen today – the colouration and size are striking in the field - real brutes. 
Score remains on 106.3%

Common Redpoll 


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