Irish Birding 29th January

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Bird Watching
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My first trip over to the Emerald Isle. I am staying less than 2 miles away from the WWT Castle Espie – Co. Down. The reserve is on the banks of Strangford Lough, an area of international importance and great beauty, with its eelgrass beds and wide variety of wildfowl and waders including shelduck, shoveler, redshank, godwit and plover. I am at the gates as the reserve opens. A quick check of the tidetable indicates I have just missed the peak time, and it is on it’s way out. A quick dash to the hide that looks towards the estuary. Looking out towards the monument. Farsends of Shelduck are wading along the mud flats. Espie is noted for it’s numbers of Shelduck as well as the Pale bellied Brent Geese. These geese are from Canada, and are different to the Dark bellied version we see back on the mainland.

Brent Goose

Looking further, and I see Eider ducks, Bar Tailed Godwits, and a wide selection of common waders. Here you can also see another version of the Corvid family, that I don’t normally see. Hooded Crow. I watch as one ‘Hoodie’ is picking up mussle shells, hovering high above the rocks than dropping it, in hope it lands on the rocks and breaks. this reminds me of seeing Lammergier’s doing the same tactics with bones – on tele off course. In the car park, there are some tall conifers. A scan revieled a single Brambling. A nice stay at the reserve. I was a bit unlucky with the tide. On the laggons I got a couple of Scaups, a species I missed last year.



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