On Easter Monday, John and I visited Portstewart Strand bright and early in the hopes of connecting with the first summer migrants. The forecast wasn't quite on the mark and we had to wait in the car, on arrival, for a shower to pass. The winds were 15-20mph from the north west, which is fine for basically all our net rides, as they are generally only affected by wind from the south and east, along the exposed estuary shore.
There is still a wintery feel around the estuary with Whooper Swans passing through, groups of Teal, Wigeon and Red-breasted Mergansers on the water, flocks of Goldfinch and Linnet continuing to visit the feeders, a single Redwing dropping in to 'East Ride', plus it was only 4 °C.
There were a few new birds about including c150 Black-tailed Godwit, a new female Stonechat, a Sparrowhawk and the Bullfinches and Robins have returned from wherever they disappear to for the winter.
It was a good session, with the feeders continuing to produce the majority of the birds, plus a few nice birds in Sparrowhawk, Reed Bunting and Redwing. That takes us up to 19 different species ringed so far this year at the site, in less than a month, so a good start to better last years 29.
Ringing Totals - PSS 28/03/2016
Blue Tit 1 1
Goldfinch 2 1
Linnet 8 1
Reed bunting 2 1
Song Thrush 1
Total 19 6
Saturday looks to be the next suitable slot for our next visit and is open to anyone who would like to come along. The first spring summer migrants are bound to be by then.... probably!
Also check out the new tab above - 'The Birds' for images of the species ringed by the group in the past 4/5 years in Northern Ireland, Donegal and Mayo.