Loughshore Park, Jordanstown

Loughshore Park, Jordanstown

It was cold and crisp in Nornia today, but standing on Loughshore with hardly a draught and the sun shining, it really was starting to feel springlike.

Out on the lough three eiders, two drakes and a duck, were having a leisurely swim. They were joined by a complementary configuration of mergansers: two ducks and a drake.

A flock of Oystercatchers zoomed past as I was taking a bino-photo.

Eider drakes and oystercatcher, 19 Feb 2012

Eiders and Oycas

After my usual hopeless attempt to photograph linnets was foiled by a big fluffball of a dog, I gave up not without muttered comments and headed back up the beach. Funny that I should ‘screw this for a lark’ because a few minutes later who showed up but a Skylark! I’d know that liquid chirrup anywhere. Along with the eiders this was a year tick for me. And the meadow pipit was present again – hopping about the rocks pretending to be a rock pipit as usual.

The biggest surprise of the day was probably the big queen bee that bumbled into view – the first I’ve seen this year. She disappeared into the grass but I managed to flush her and this time landed where I could see her. It was a Buff-tailed Bumblebee,  Bombus terrestris. Watching her sunbathe, the day felt more springlike than ever.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee queen (Bombus terrestris), 19 Feb 2012

Bombus terrestris