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 bright green eye stripe, spotty chests, grey body, horizontal white stripe on the flank, yellow patch at the base of the tail and beautiful green flash on their wings. Even without all these beautiful colours it's easy to tell them apart as they are about half the size of a Mallard duck!
Teal can be seen here all year round, however in the winter our resident birds are joined by large flocks that fly in from Eastern Europe to wait out the winter. If you're lucky, one can see these birds flying together in large flocks over the lough. Very aerially acrobatic for ducks; twisting and turning with ease.
Teal can be seen on nearly all our wetland habitats, but they like to roost up on the Shingle bank and frequently dabble in the Wadermarsh and Main Lake.
Count taken at Low Tide
Estuary - visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory
Brent Geese c.3000, Pink-footed Geese 6, Mute Swan 2, Oystercatcher 9, Curlew 2, Little Egret 4, Common Gull 1, Black-headed Gull 3
Main lake - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor centre
Mallard 85, Tufted duck 6, Teal 10, Shoveler 4, Gadwall 3, Goldeneye 1, Little Grebe 1, Coot 2, Greylag goose 1
Shingle Bank - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor centre
Mallard 35, Teal 26, Shoveler 2, Greylag goose 1, Rook 1, Moorhen 1
Wadermarsh - visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide
Teal 25, Moorhen 4, Coot 1, Black-headed Gull 3
Freshwater Lagoon - visible from Brent Hide and Crannog
Mallard 22, Teal 21, Gadwall 3, Shoveler 3, Heron 1
Saline Lagoon - visible from Limekiln observatory
Little Grebe 3, Herring Gull 1
Jackdaw 12, Pied Wagtail 1
Peninsula field and Saltmarsh
Reed Bunting 6, Meadow Pipit 3, Mixed flock of Goldfinch and Linnet c.80
Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Woodpigeon