Sunday, 3 November 2013

Autumn at Ballyquintin

Another long stretch since I last updated ... I was away much of August, then a weekend in early September. One attempted visit became aborted when I found 3 avocets on the way to Ballyquintin - just a few km N of the patch.

Since my last update, just five new species:

Great skua: 1 October, the one and only seen by me from the Down coast this year. Good numbers of kittiwake flying north that day, and one great northern diver heading south

Mute swan: a pair turned up in Barr Hall Bay, first seen 5 October, and still there today (3 November)

Barnacle goose: 12 October, and the surprise of the autumn. I was scanning the shore between Barr Hall Bay and the point for waders and gulls, at low tide. I noticed a small dark goose in the lagoon, some way off, and assumed it would be a brent. When I finally bothered to put the scope on it, there was a barnacle goose, standing alone in a shallow lagoon.

Greylag: 3 November, 2 flew south over the headland

Pintail: 3 November, a female in Barr Hall Bay with the mallards. A lone drake wigeon also there.

There has been nothing to my knowledge on the fields. harvesting there was later then other places, and the fields are still stubble. Groups of golden plover overhead occasionally. Large flocks of gulls have appeared, moving from fields to shore, but I have been unable to find more than the usual suspects. Large flocks of linnets are moving around the headland, and there was a flock of tree sparrows in the hedges along the shore south of Barr Hall Bay yesterday (2 November). No short-eared owl or jack snipe on the coast marshes (yet), but common snipe are now appearing there. There seem to be relatively good numbers of stonechats in the area.

114 species, 147 points

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