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Recent Sightings - 2nd December 2019
02 Dec 2019

Recent Sightings - 2nd December 2019

With all trees now bare, winter is a great time of year to watch our small woodland birds. Diminutive but yet beautiful Tits and finches; darting from branch to branch, and tree to tree, searching for food. The Treecreepers are showing really well around ...

Recent Sightings - 25th November 2019
25 Nov 2019

Recent Sightings - 25th November 2019

If you've followed the blogs over the past few weeks you'll have noticed a reoccurring theme; birds arriving from colder climes to wait out the winter. This is one of the reasons the British Isles are fantastic for bird life! The climate is great for a va...

Recent Sightings - 18th November 2019
18 Nov 2019

Recent Sightings - 18th November 2019

Although there weren't any present this morning, this week we've had a proper wildfowl treat on the reserve; Northern Pintail. Male Pintail are gorgeous; distinct elongated "pin-like" tails, elegant thin necks, lovely silver feathering, a bright yellow pa...

Recent Sightings - 11th November 2019
11 Nov 2019

Recent Sightings - 11th November 2019

Once a month, the Reserve team at Castle Espie carry out a Wetland Bird survey (Webs Count) across the area of Strangford Lough that WWT monitor. This is a census of all birds present from mid to high tide, both the species and their numbers. This is carr...

Recent Sightings - 4th November 2019
04 Nov 2019

Recent Sightings - 4th November 2019

Wintering wildfowl numbers continue to build out on the Estuary. The Brent geese have peaked, but we are starting to see large flocks of Shelduck and Wigeon beginning to gather in front of the Brent hide. Wigeon are scarce as a breeding bird in the UK and...

Recent Sightings - 28th October 2019
30 Oct 2019

Recent Sightings - 28th October 2019

The following sightings were recorded today from the reserve at Castle Espie at Mid-Tide. The last few weeks have seen the number of Shelducks on the estuary increasing. Shelducks breeding in Ireland undergo a moult migration east to the Helgoland Bight...

Recent Sightings - 23rd October 2019
23 Oct 2019

Recent Sightings - 23rd October 2019

Over the past few weeks, we've been visited by a bird species that has not been recorded here for over a decade! A small flock of Skylarks has been seeing foraging in the Peninsula field and flying over our other habitats. Skylarks are a demure ground nes...

Recent Sightings - 14th October 2019
14 Oct 2019

Recent Sightings - 14th October 2019

Wintering wildfowl numbers continue to build here at Castle Espie; including one of the UK's smallest ducks, Eurasian Teal. Locally known as Teal, the males are very striking and easy to distinguish from other UK species: chestnut coloured head, with a br...

Recent Sightings - 7th October 2019
07 Oct 2019

Recent Sightings - 7th October 2019

The weather this morning was absolutely abysmal; heavy drizzle and high winds. However this is actually a great time to see birds at Castle Espie because lots of birds will shelter along the shoreline and on the edge of our wetland habitats; this morning ...

Recent sightings - 30th Septmeber
30 Sep 2019

Recent sightings - 30th Septmeber

Castle Espie is a great site for wintering ducks. In the winter, ducks will leave their breeding grounds and migrate locally to congregate around lakes and other wetlands. The Freshwater lakes here host almost all the Irish (freshwater) duck species at so...

Recent Sightings - 23rd September 2019
23 Sep 2019

Recent Sightings - 23rd September 2019

Across the crisp, clear autumn air the mournful cry of a Buzzard is frequently heard. Having recovered from a significant decline in the last 100 years in the UK & Ireland, the Buzzard is thriving again and it's distinctive call is part of the living land...

Recent Sightings - 16th September 2019
16 Sep 2019

Recent Sightings - 16th September 2019

Brent numbers are building rapidly out on the Lough! There's so many that even at low tide, you can still hear in the distance, the mass of geese making their distinctive gronking calls. Yesterday, during our monthly wetland bird survey, c.2500 Brent gees...

Recent Sightings - 9th September 2019
09 Sep 2019

Recent Sightings - 9th September 2019

The Brent are back! Strangford Lough's iconic species the Light-bellied Brent goose has once again returned after their long migration. Around 50 birds were first spotted on Wednesday last week, and since then there numbers have been growing. A couple hun...

Recent Sightings - 2nd September  2019
02 Sep 2019

Recent Sightings - 2nd September 2019

Into September now and more wintering birds are beginning to arrive in the Lough; Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing can all be seen on a daily basis! However this is also a good time of year to spot "Passage Migrants". This is a colloquial term for...

Recent Sightings - 26th August 2019
26 Aug 2019

Recent Sightings - 26th August 2019

Now that we are coming to the end of August many of the wildflowers in the Brickworks are going to seed. Once flowers are pollinated their beautiful petals fade, fall off and seeds begin to form. This is vital for the return of the flowers in the spring o...