Trip reports

Field Trip to Strangford Lough - Roger Woodward

Field Trip to Strangford Lough - Roger Woodward
William Smiton Blue Tit

Monday, 18 March 2019

RSPB ANTRIM GROUP
FIELD TRIP 17TH MARCH 2019
LEADER: Raymond Bennett
LOCATION: West side of Strangford Lough
WEATHER: Cold (40 - 80C). Strong NW wind (f6) with frequent showers. Good visibility

We met at Newtownards at 1000. After combining cars, we set of for Island Hill.
In the road into Island Hill two buzzards were perched on an ivy covered dead tree - we wondered if they had a nest there. From Island Hill, out to sea we saw: black-tail godwit, redshank, 1 greenshank, oystercatcher, dunnock, knot, golden plover, curlew, great crested grebe, brent geese, shelduck, widgeon, eider, black headed gull, one greater black backed gull and one lesser black backed gull. Many turnstone were on the shore. In the fields surrounding were blackbird, dunnock, house sparrow, collared dove, wood pigeon, hooded crow, jackdaw and rooks.
After coffee we set off for Castle Espie. On the road out a raven was perched on at telegraph pole. At the lane beside Castle Espie, there was no sign of the usual kingfisher in the pond. Out to sea, on the mudflats, there were good sightings of brent geese, shelduck, curlew, redshank, black tailed godwit and, in the distance, golden plover. Moorhen and an apparently injured black-tailed godwit were visible in the reserve.
We stopped for lunch at Quoile Visitors' Centre. Here, goldfinch, blue tit and great tit were at the feeders. A stroll along the Quoile waterside gave good views of widgeon, tufted duck, great crested grebe, and dabchick. A memorable moment was a close sighting of two pairs of highly coloured bullfinch in the nearby bushes. Long tailed tits also arrived. A male reed bunting was on the path and a heron flew over.
The Quoile Yacht Club gave limited sightings - the strong wind was straight into the bay. A cormorant flew over.
Our final stop was Castle Island hide. Here we had good views of tufted duck, goldeneye, widgeon, great crested grebe, and dabchick.

Species seen - List compiled by Jonathan Blair
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Cormorant
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Mute Swan
Brent Goose
Shelduck
Mallard
Gadwall
Wigeon
Teal
Pochard
Tufted Duck
Eider
Goldeneye
Common Buzzard
Moorhen
Coot
Oystercatcher
Knot
Turnstone
Dunlin
Redshank
Greenshank
Black-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit
Curlew
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Wood Pigeon
Collared Dove
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Wren
Dunnock
Robin
Mistle Thrush
Blackbird
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Jay
Jackdaw
Rook
Hooded Crow
Raven
Starling
House Sparrow
Chaffinch
Linnet
Goldfinch
Bullfinch
Reed Bunting Total Species 56