May 13th - Ormeau Park, Bird and birdsong.

Conductor; Dermot Hughes

Despite the cold weather a good number of members met up with Dermot Hughes at the Park gates. He took us on a walk through the grounds choosing paths that were more sheltered from the icy wind.

Although the temperatures were low, we saw a large number of birds. We heard many marking their individual territories especially the Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) Great Tits (Parus major), Blue Tits (Parus caerulus), Coal Tits (Parus ater) and Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudata).

We paused at a group of trees to watch Tree Creepers (Certhia familiaris), aptly named birds, climbing with great agility upwards around the trunks of trees picking food here and there from the bark crevices. When they reached the top they dropped down to the foot of a nearby tree and started all over again!

Moving further we watched a range of species on the ground including Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus), Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos), and Blackbirds (Turdus merula), the latter constantly accompanying us with its fluty varied song.

Greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) and Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) flitted through the bushes with their characteristic songs. The former a musical jingle of notes and the Goldfinch with its attractive canary-like song.

Next as we looked up to watch Swallows (Hirundo rustica) and Swifts (Apus apus) in flight we were treated to a wonderful view of a Jay (Garrulus Glandarius) noisily calling and flapping its wings to claim a tree top perch from Hooded Crows (Corvus corone cornix).

Turning homewards we were entertained by a flock of Long-tailed Tits as they claimed a large Oak tree from the other small birds and sang as they flitted from branch to branch. These small rotund little birds with their extremely long tails are gregarious flying in single species groups made up of large families.

For me watching the Tree Creepers, Long-tailed tits and the colourful Jay were the highlights of the evening.

Again we are very grateful to Dermot for sharing his extensive knowledge of the birds, their behaviour and song. I  learnt to listen to the Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) with its well known loud warbling broken by a vibrant trill and not to mix it up with the trill sound chaffinches can make. Another excellent bird evening!

Pamela Thomlinson

Thanks to Liam McCaughey for the photograph of the Jay.

Field Trip Reports 2012Field_Trip_Reports.html

Dermot Hughes promoting the BTO

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Jay (Garrulus Glandarius)

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