Latest sightings

Recent Sightings 15th July 2024

Recent Sightings 15th July 2024

The tide was in for this count, moving the Curlew up to the top of the Lough to roost all together and pushing the Oystercatcher into the reserve to roost on the Shingle Bank, joined by Common and Black-headed gulls. Large numbers of Little egrets (pict

16 July 2024

Recent Sightings 24th June 2024

Recent Sightings 24th June 2024

This morning’s tide was way out for the count around the Reserve, exposing our rocky shoreline for a lovely little visitor – a Rock pipit! Rock pipit’s are small, streaky brown birds that are often found along coastlines, feeding on small molluscs b

24 June 2024

Recent Sightings 17th June 2024

Recent Sightings 17th June 2024

The tide was in and the sun was out for this morning’s count, and as a result we had an amazing variety of species on the Main Lake. Mallard, Moorhen and Coot all had their youngsters out for a swim alongside the diving Cormorant and the tiny Little gre

17 June 2024

Recent Sightings 10th June 2024

Recent Sightings 10th June 2024

The tide was far out for this morning’s count around the Reserve, meaning the majority of the birds visible on the Lough’s mudflats were gulls – from the small, gregarious Black-headed gull to the large, formidable Greater black-back. The latter are

10 June 2024

Recent Sightings 3rd June 2024

Recent Sightings 3rd June 2024

The tide was fully in for this week’s count, pushing lots of birds into the reserve to roost and feed whilst the waters of Strangford Lough lapped against the seawall. Large numbers of Oystercatcher and Common gull are coming in and settling down on the

7 June 2024

Recent Sightings 27th May 2024

Recent Sightings 27th May 2024

The tide was completely out for this morning’s count around the Reserve. Shelduck and Greylag geese swam peacefully across the Main Lake, providing a picture perfect view from the Turtle Hide in the Sensory Garden. Moorhen and Coot chicks are getting bi

27 May 2024

Recent Sightings 21st May 2024

Recent Sightings 21st May 2024

Castle Espie was bathed in warm spring sunshine for this count, and the chicks and ducklings were out in force. Small, chirping Coot, Moorhen and Mallard offspring were visible all over the Reserve – either swimming on our lakes or trailing after mum do

22 May 2024

Recent Sightings 13th May 2024

Recent Sightings 13th May 2024

The tide was way out for this mornings count on the reserve, which meant waders including Curlew, Oystercatcher, and Bar-tailed godwit were busy feeding on the exposed mudflats. Light-bellied brent geese grazed alongside Shelduck, and Common terns were fl

13 May 2024

Recent Sightings 6th May 2024

Recent Sightings 6th May 2024

The tide was in for this week’s count, which brought a large group of Great-crested grebe within view of the Brent Hide. Great-crested grebe are the largest species of grebe that we get in the UK, and with their long, slender necks and elaborate head pl

7 May 2024

Recent Sightings 29th April 2024

Recent Sightings 29th April 2024

Despite the unpleasant weather on Monday, the Reserve still had a great variety of birds on full view from the safety of our hides. A male Shoveler was feeding on the Main Lake, underneath Swallows swooping back and forth over the Shingle bank and over to

30 April 2024

Recent Sightings 23rd April 2024

Recent Sightings 23rd April 2024

More summer visitors arrived on the Reserve this week, with a pair of Common terns (pictured) making their presence known by calling loudly to one another over Saline Lagoon. Fishing on the lake using their aerial acrobatics and skillful flying makes it e

25 April 2024

Recent Sightings 15th April 2024

Recent Sightings 15th April 2024

The first Swallows (pictured) have arrived on the Reserve after their long migration from Southern Africa, marking that spring is in full swing! These beautiful, aerial acrobats arrive in spring for breeding season, and stay here until October, when they

15 April 2024

Recent Sightings 8th April 2024

Recent Sightings 8th April 2024

The Reserve was full of the signs of Spring this morning for the count, as the tide slowly came up Strangford Lough, bringing Eider, Red-breasted merganser and Great-crested grebe into view. The Limekiln Observatory is a great place to see these species a

8 April 2024

Recent Sightings 1st April 2024

Recent Sightings 1st April 2024

There were lots of Mute swans (pictured) to be seen all around Castle Espie on this count, either gracefully gliding through the water on the Main Lake or flying over the Reserve with their characteristically loud wing beats. Mute swans are the largest of

2 April 2024

Recent Sightings 25th March 2024

Recent Sightings 25th March 2024

The tide was just coming up to the Brent Hide late this morning, bringing with it groups of Black-tailed godwit, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Brent geese. A few Dunlin and Grey plover were dotted about amongst the other waders, feeding on the mudflats desp

25 March 2024