Recent Sightings 8th January 2024

A very cold and windy count rewarded us with some unusual visitors on the Main Lake – a pair of Red-breasted mergansers (pictured). These sawbills are excellent fishers - with their long serrated beaks, they can catch and hold onto fast-swimming, slippery fish, which make up most of their diet. We don’t usually see them on the Main Lake, and are more often seen out on the water from our hides overlooking Strangford Lough, sometimes in large flocks together.

The cold winter sunshine is a great time to appreciate the bright, colourful plumage of the male Bullfinch. This rotund little passerine is an absolute delight to see in the woodland, with its jet-black head, buff pink breast and strong finch beak – they are unmistakable and mesmerizing to watch.

Estuary - visible from the Brent Hide and the Limekiln Observatory

Light-bellied brent goose 88, Dunlin 74, Redshank 8, Oystercatcher 192, Common gull 4, Greenshank 1, Turnstone 1, Curlew 4, Shelduck 3, Little egret 1, Hooded crow 2

Main lake - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre

Red-breasted merganser 2, Mallard 124, Gadwall 2, Tufted duck 20, Grey heron 2, Little egret 3, Teal 32, Moorhen 2, Dunnock, Great tit, Blackbird, Coal tit

Shingle Bank - visible from Sensory garden and Visitor Centre

Cormorant 2, Mallard 30, Teal 15, Gadwall 6, Moorhen 1

Wadermarsh - visible from Wadermarsh lookout and Brent Hide

Oystercatcher 1, Moorhen 1, Greenshank 2, Redshank 10

Freshwater Lagoon - visible from Brent Hide and Crannóg

Moorhen 3, Teal 2, Mallard 1

Saline Lagoon - visible from Limekiln observatory

Greenshank 7, Redshank 1, Little grebe 4

Peninsula Saltmarsh

Light-bellied brent goose 17


Hooded crow 1, Blackbird

Limestone Lake

Mallard 2, Little grebe 1, Moorhen 1, Wood pigeon 1


Great tit, Goldcrest, Wood pigeon, Robin, Blackbird, Bullfinch

  • Share this article