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 the swan species found in Northern Ireland, and are resident here, although population sizes may change throughout the year with birds arriving and leaving.

Black-headed gull numbers are starting to increase, with the birds paying particular attention to the islands in the Freshwater Lagoon and the Saline Lagoon. The Woodland is also filling with noise as all the passerines prepare for breeding season, singing loudly and establishing territories. From the tiny, elusive Goldcrest to the colourful Blue tit – the woods are alive with song!

Estuary - visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory

Black-headed gull 66, Black-tailed godwit 62, Curlew 4, Hooded crow 1, Mute swan 1, Light-bellied brent goose 3, Redshank 25, Little egret 2, Oystercatcher 12, Red-breasted merganser 3, Lesser black-backed gull 1, Greater black-backed gull 2, Greenshank 2, Wigeon 1

Main lake - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre

Gadwall 7, Tufted duck 6, Mallard 9, Teal 6, Black-headed gull 57, Mute swan 3, Moorhen 5, Hooded crow 2, Coot 2, Chaffinch, Wood pigeon, Blue tit, Great tit

Shingle Bank - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre

Mallard 4, Moorhen 2, Gadwall 3, Black-headed gull 25, Teal 1

Wadermarsh - visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide

Black-headed gull 11, Shelduck 2, Teal 2, Redshank 6, Greenshank 1, Black-tail godwit 1, Raven 1, Grey heron 1

Freshwater Lagoon - visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg

Gadwall 2, Teal 4, Moorhen 1, Black-headed gull 9

Saline Lagoon - visible from Limekiln observatory

Mute swan 2, Moorhen 1, Gadwall 2, Black-headed gull 3

Peninsula Saltmarsh

Black-headed gull 2, Shelduck 1

Peninsula Field

Hooded crow 10


Jackdaw 7, Shelduck 5 (flying over), Blackbird

Limestone Lake

Mallard 2, Moorhen 1, Blue tit, Blackbird, Wood pigeon


Jackdaw, Blue tit, Great tit, Blackbird, Hooded crow, Mistle thrush, Chaffinch, Robin, Goldcrest, Coal tit

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