This weeks photograph is taken at Castle Espie a WWT reserve here in Northern Ireland. It sit’s on the shore of Strangford lough, which is a sea lough on the east side of the country close to the town of Comber. The reserve was the site of the old Castle Espie brick and pottery factory. This photograph was take from the Lime Kiln Observatory which is built on top of the old lime kiln’s.
Portmore lough is in County Antrim here in the north of Ireland. It is one of the RSPB nature reserve’s I like to visit Portmore a few times a year. Spring time brings in the Common Tern to the nesting rafts on the lough and so on a hot sunny spring day ( note these are not words we use a lot in Ireland ) I arrive at the reserve. With only a few cars parked up it meant the hide by the lough would be quiet. The walk to the hide showed butterflies and damselflies were out, but a breeze blowing made closeups difficult.
Blue Damselfly. Getting a shot of this was hard work, even this one could have been sharper.
Yep it’s a red Damselfly. These seemed to land on the ground which helped with the wind, but hard on the knees.
Black-veined white butterfly. This one is a little battered, it was the only shot I got plus a workout. Then it was into the bird hide or bird blind depending when you are from. Two women were there and after a short update on what was seen I set up the camera. There are three nesting rafts and has well as Common Tern’s there was Blacked Gulls nesting.
A Common Tern bring in lunch. I sat and watched the coming and goings around the rafts for an hour. I find by spending time studying these birds, patterns arise. This helps to get photographs, so lets meet the Common Tern and Black Headed gull.
This photograph shows the Common Tern ( left) and the Black Headed Gull.
This gull is a young immature Black headed gull. On the way back to the car park I stopped close to the feeders and shot this Sparrow.
I believe this is a House sparrow. So it was back to the car and pack my gear away and the 40 minute drive home.
Okay so I thought I’d go up to Portmore Lough in County Antrim. It is a RSPB reserve. ( RSPB ) Spent time in the hide on the lough shore, talking to some of the people who help in the running and up keep of the reserve. Below are a few of the photographs.
Frist up is a Great Tit ( Parus major ) at one of the feeding stations , these are right beside the walkways and a great place to see and photograph birds up close.
Whooper Swans (Cygnus columbianus) in flight, There where around 60 – 100 of these swans on the lough but all at the far side well out of camera range. Most of these birds migrant here from there breeding grounds in Russia.
I salute you, a male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) on a floating platoon grooming.
The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) in its duller winter Plumage. Sometimes a hard bird to follow has it dives for fish and resurfaces else where.
House sparrow (Passer domesticus) These little birds are a gardener’s friend has they feed on unwelcome insects. Also one of the most successful birds has it is found in nearly every country in the world.
So will leave you with this little fellow.Who just had to be the first in the queue.
There’s a different look on the lough, with the winter water fowl and duck’s away the summer residents have made a show. Back are the Great Crested Grebe, Mallard’s and the Mute Swan’s. Mute Swans pair up for life and seldom divorce. Courtship takes place in late winter with synchronised head dipping and necks and breasts pressed together. With their S shaped necks a heart shape forms during this ritual.
I shot this photograph last year and converted it to black and white. It shows the heart shape they form doing the above ritual.