The reserve now seems eerily quiet as the Black-headed Gull colony has broken up, with adult and fledged chicks alike now spreading out around Strangford Lough. But all is not so peaceful and calm! In the Saline lagoon, in the absence of the gulls, a new piercing bird call can be heard, the Common Terns.
Not one, nor two but three pairs of common terns have taken up residency on the raft in the saline lagoon. Squabbling about which corner belongs to whom! One pair have hatched one chick and can be seen feeding it very regularly with fish caught out on the estuary. A very special breeding bird in Northern Ireland. Great views of these birds is to be had at the saline lagoon lookout.
Count was taken at low tide.
Estuary – visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory
Black-headed Gull 38, Oystercatcher 3, Black-tailed Godwit 10, Redshank 4
Main lake – visible from Sensory garden and Visitor centre
Mallard 54, Tufted Duck 11 + 2 chicks, Coot 1 + 1 chicks, Black-headed Gull 1, Little Grebe 1 + 1 chick
Shingle bank – visible from Sensory garden, Wadermarsh and Visitor Centre
Black-head Gull 43, Mallard 26, Greylag goose 7, Moorhen 2
Wadermarsh – visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide
Black-tailed Godwit 2, Jackdaw 8, Black-headed Gull 51, Common Gull 1
Freshwater Lagoon – visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg
Mallard 5+ 5 chicks, Teal 8, Black-headed Gull 2, Coot 1, Black-tailed Godwit 2, Moorhen 2
Saline Lagoon – visible from Limekiln observatory
Black-headed Gull 2, Common Tern 6 + 1 chick, Little Egret 1, Little Grebe 2
Peninsula Field and Saltmarsh
Meadow pipit 2, Starling c.25
Meadow pipit 1, Linnet 2
Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Blackcap, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Jay
Speckled wood, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Red Admiral, Small Tortoise shell Painted Lady, Small White, Green-veined White,, Six-Spot Burnett Moth