Despite the recent rain summer is on the way! The wildflower meadows are in bloom, with Ox-eye daises and various legumes in flower. Lots of ducklings and gull chicks are beginning to show well now. And the common Terns are being diligent parents over their new chicks.
Common Terns are an uncommon breeding bird in Northern Ireland. Part of the gull family, but terns are smaller and more agile and specialise in catching fish. A fish tern is quite spectacular to to watch! Flying high above the water, turning it's head from side to side to get a good look just under the water and then plunging dive to catch fish below the water's surface. Terns are known to have some of the longest migrations in the bird world. The Common Terns that breed in the UK and Ireland will spend their summers fishing off the coast of Southern Africa.
Spend some time at the Saline lagoon lookout to watch these birds fishing.
Count was taken at Mid tide this morning.
Estuary – visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory
Black-headed Gull 26, Shelduck 4, Mallard 25, Lesser Black-back Gull 2, Oystercatcher 106, Black-tailed Godwit 1, Little Egret 2
Main lake – visible from Sensory garden and Visitor centre
Mallard 27+ chicks 2, Tufted Duck 3 + 3 chicks, Coot 4, Black-headed Gull c.60, Goldeneye 1, Gadwall 1, Greylag 2 + 6 goslings
Shingle bank – visible from Sensory garden, Wadermarsh and Visitor Centre
Black-head Gull 87, Mallard 26, Gadwall 2, Moorhen 1+ 1 chick, Cormorant 1, Oystercatcher c.450
Wadermarsh – visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide
Black-headed Gull 21, Oystercatcher 1. Lesser Black-backed Gull 1, Jackdaw 3
Freshwater Lagoon – visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg
Mallard 8, Tufted Duck 3+ 4 ducklings, Shelduck 1+7 young, Black-headed Gull c.400, Moorhen 3, Coot 2 + 2 young, Swallow 1
Saline Lagoon – visible from Limekiln observatory
Black-headed Gull c.50, Common Tern 2, Tufted Duck 1, Rock Pipit 1
Tufted Duck 1
Peninsula Field and Saltmarsh
Meadow Pipit 1
Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon, Magpie
Speckled wood, Common Blue, Meadow Brown