BIRD WATCHING

Red Kites wheel in the sky above Ballymote and tiny Tree Creepers lurk in our gardens! Diverse habitats support uniquely diverse residents and visitors, increased and enhanced by winter and summer arrivals and departures. Strangford Lough is an area of international importance and great beauty, with eelgrass beds and a wide variety of wildfowl and waders.

STRANGFORD LOUGH AND ISLANDS

Species: wetland of international importance supporting 25,000 wildfowl, 50,000 waders. Pale-bellied Brent geese numbers top the 12,000 mark in October, a few dark-bellied Brent and black Brent among them. Significant percentages of bar and blacktailed godwit, curlew, dunlin, gadwall, goldeneye, golden plover, greenshank, knot, lapwing, oystercatcher, red-breasted merganser, redshank, shelduck, shoveler and whooper swan, have been recorded. Important breeding species include Arctic, common and Sandwich terns; cormorant (read more)

KILLOUGH HARBOUR

A freshwater lake and estuary
Species: late wintering light-bellied Brent goose; lesser yellowlegs, Temminck’s stint and white-winged black tern are among rarities recorded, plus ruffs and common estuarine waders.

ST JOHN’S POINT

Species: Manx shearwaters, storm petrels summer to autumn. On-shore winds also blow skuas in spring and autumn.

DUNDRUM INNER BAY

Murlough National Nature Reserve, National Trust
Location Species: wintering pale-bellied brent goose, autumnal passage waders; oystercatcher. Common scoter, occasionally velvet and, even, surf scoter in the Outer Bay. Breeding cuckoos and grasshopper warblers in the dunes. (read more)

WILDFOWL AND WETLANDS TRUST CASTLE ESPIE

Castle Espie’s main draw, is its magical mix of wide estuary views, tidal lagoon, eel-grass mats, woodland walks, salt marshes and reed beds; the presence of Ireland’s largest collection of native and exotic water-birds; and the abundance of habitats for other wildlife. (read more)

A really good guide to places where unusual birds are found. (read more)

A fabulous blog about birds, mainly around County Down, with photographs which have won awards around the world.(read more)