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Recent Sightings - 24th June 2019
24 Jun 2019

Recent Sightings - 24th June 2019

Despite the recent rain summer is on the way! The wildflower meadows are in bloom, with Ox-eye daises and various legumes in flower. Lots of ducklings and gull chicks are beginning to show well now. And the common Terns are being diligent parents over th...

Recent Sightings - 17th June 2019
17 Jun 2019

Recent Sightings - 17th June 2019

Breeding is in full swing on the reserve with Black-headed gull, Tern, Coot, Shelduck, Graylag, and Tufted duck chicks all showing well on the reserve...

Recent Sightings - 10th June 2019
10 Jun 2019

Recent Sightings - 10th June 2019

Unlike in the winter, at this time of year Strangford Lough is mostly devoid of large flocks of waders. Birds are seen stopping off in the Lough to rest and feed whilst on passage to their summer breeding grounds, but most are only here for a day or two. ...

Recent Sightings - 3rd June 2019
03 Jun 2019

Recent Sightings - 3rd June 2019

An absolute MEGA bird turned up this week! Very excited to share that a Lesser Yellowlegs made an appearance at Castle Espie this week. This is a very rare vagrant to to Britain and Ireland, only 5-10 birds are seen every year. It spent a couple of days i...

Recent Sightings - 27th May 2019
27 May 2019

Recent Sightings - 27th May 2019

Exciting news! Black-headed gull eggs are begin to crack open and reveal beautiful, mottled, fluffy chicks! The young gull chicks are very different from their parents; no feathers yet, only soft down to keep them warm. their colours contrast substantiall...

Recent Sightings - 20th May 2019
20 May 2019

Recent Sightings - 20th May 2019

The appearance of baby chicks on the reserve is well underway with the Black-headed gulls, Shelduck and Graylag all with young...

Recent Sightings - 13th May 2019
13 May 2019

Recent Sightings - 13th May 2019

Another small migrant has joined us within the last couple of weeks; the Sedge Warbler. Migrating from Sub-Saharan Africa, they breed in Northern Europe's wetland habitats in the winter, with a particular affinity for reed-beds. This warbler, although qu...

Recent Sightings- 6th May 2019
06 May 2019

Recent Sightings- 6th May 2019

We've had an unusual visitor at Castle Espie this week. Over the Main lake, silently swooping in-between the raucous Black-head Gulls; diminutive and yet elegant, a Little Gull. This isn't just a "small" gull, but in fact a very unusual visitor to Norther...

Recent Sightings - 29th April 2019
29 Apr 2019

Recent Sightings - 29th April 2019

The bright and warm weather the last couple of weeks was extremely conducive for an emergence of Spring time butterflies; Orange tip butterflies were really active in the swamp and sensory garden, peacocks where seen out by the Brent hide and in the carpa...

Recent Sightings - 22nd April 2019
22 Apr 2019

Recent Sightings - 22nd April 2019

Caste Espie is bursting with life anew this spring! The gulls are courting, the ducks are displaying, the air is alive with zipping hoverflies, the buzz of bumblebees, beautiful butterflies and the woodland is bursting full of birdsong! The woodland is a ...

Recent Sightings - 15th April 2019
15 Apr 2019

Recent Sightings - 15th April 2019

Barrow's Goldeneye is an American duck species and can be seen everyday at Castle Espie as part of our exotic wildfowl collection. However Strangford lough is a stronghold for the European Goldeneye and Castle Espie is probably one of the few places in th...

Recent Sightings - 8th April 2019
08 Apr 2019

Recent Sightings - 8th April 2019

Over the past few weeks we've been blessed to have lots of Black-tailed Godwit on the reserve for the last couple of weeks. They can be seen roosting and feeding on the Wadermarsh and also on the mudflats on front of the Brent discovery hide.These birds a...

Recent Sighting - 1st April 2019
01 Apr 2019

Recent Sighting - 1st April 2019

This week on the Estuary in front of Castle Espie, we've had a large influx of Light-bellied Brent Geese. These birds are gathering together and getting in some last minute feeding, before braving the 2500km trip to their Arctic breeding grounds in Canada...

Recent Sightings - 25th March
25 Mar 2019

Recent Sightings - 25th March

The reserve is becoming a hive of activity again for some of our most important breeding birds; Black-headed Gulls. Castle Espie's reserve hosts one of the largest colonies in Northern Ireland, so it's great to see the birds back again scouting out their...

Recent Sightings - 18th March 2019
18 Mar 2019

Recent Sightings - 18th March 2019

As the days get longer, most of our winter visitors begin to disperse and disappear; the duck flocks on the main lake are much reduced, there is only a handful of Brent on the estuary and the Little Grebes are becoming elusive once more. However the tides...