Thursday, 2 February 2017

January - Larne Lough and Rathlin

I'm going to try to do monthly blog posts this year, which on this occasion amounts to copying and pasting a few photos and providing a score update to the end of the month.  In summary: a decent enough start to the year in Larne Lough with the first Waxwings for a couple of years and a last minute Iceland Gull on 31st.  The most remarkable thing about this bird was its complete lack of interest in sliced pan - a first patch record of a white-winger buggering off at the sight of bread. Such scenes have not been seen in the borough since the Bonaparte's.  The annual arrival of small gulls is well underway and will be checked closely over the next month for hubba-bubba pink legs. 
My only trip to Rathlin of the month produced some good winter birds for the island.  The long-staying drake Gadwall and a female Goldeneye at Craigmacagan Lough, a Knot with Redshank at Mill Bay and a lone Whooper Swan (which rarely land on the island) at Ushet Lough.  There has been a dearth of divers along the East Antrim coast this winter, so I wasn't surprised when I failed to spot any off Rathlin despite favourable sea conditions.  Sadly, it appears the female Pochard that has wintered at Ally Lough for the last few years has not returned.  
Larne Lough - 82 species / 98 points / 60.5%
Highlights - Jack Snipe, Slavonian Grebe, Iceland Gull, Waxwing
Rathlin Island - single visit in January - 47 species / 55 points / 40.8%
Highlights - Goldeneye, Gadwall, Whooper Swan, Knot

Ushet Lough, Rathlin Island

Knot, Sandy Bay, Larne

Oystercatcher, Sandy Bay, Larne

Adult Med Gull, Sandy Bay, Larne

Little Egret, Glynn

Jack Snipe

Knot - recorded on both patches in January, unheard of.

Song Thrush whilst looking for Waxwings

Black-headed Gull making a splash

Black-headed Gull

It posed

Patch Birding

Purple Sandpiper



Wave runners


Sunset from the Rathlin Ferry