Recent Sightings 15th January 2024

Such a beautiful, crisp morning for a count, and although the wind was icy cold, there were stunning views over the Reserve and out onto Strangford Lough. The tide was out, and mixed flocks of Brent geese and Shelduck were busy feeding on the exposed mudflats. The Shelduck is one of our largest species of duck in the UK and are present here all year round, although their numbers rise throughout Winter and Spring.

Grey plover were also out at the water’s edge in their beautiful, silvery-grey winter plumage. These little waders tend to spread out as they feed on the mudflats, only really tightly grouping together when roosting.

The Goldcrest (pictured) is one of our smallest and most charismatic woodland birds. With a bright gold stripe on its head and big, round, black eyes, this tiny passerine flits up and down branches searching for food and emits a delicate, high-pitched call. They’ll eat small insects, spiders, insect eggs and any other little morsels they can find within the branches.

Estuary - visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory

Light-bellied brent goose 55, Oystercatcher 43, Redshank 24, Curlew 19, Grey plover 20, Ringed plover 1, Dunlin 20, Black-headed gull 3, Common gull 11, Hooded crow 3, Shelduck 78, Lapwing 8, Black-tailed godwit 6, Greater black-backed gull 2

Main lake - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre

Mallard 83, Tufted duck 9, Teal 26, Cormorant 2, Blue tit, Blackcap, Dunnock, Great tit, Wren

Shingle Bank - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre

Black-headed gull 3, Grey heron 1, Cormorant 1, Mallard 75, Moorhen 11, Gadwall 28, Redshank 1

Wadermarsh - visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide

Little egret 1, Moorhen 5, Teal 7, Gadwall 5, Redshank 10, Hooded crow 1, Greenshank 2, Black-tailed godwit 6, Robin

Freshwater Lagoon - visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg

Moorhen 5, Teal 28, Mallard 7

Saline Lagoon - visible from Limekiln observatory

Kingfisher 1, Little grebe 5, Redshank 2, Otter 1

Peninsula Saltmarsh

Redshank 1


Robin, Blackbird, Hooded crow

Limestone Lake

Mallard 2, Little grebe 1, Tufted duck 1


Blackbird, Wood pigeon, Goldfinch, Blue tit, Wren, Robin, Hooded crow, Coal tit, Goldcrest, Chaffinch

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