Inishowen Wildlife Club

2008 News

             
           

 

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To view the Butterfly Ireland web site Click www.butterflyireland.com

The Marsh Fritillary as the name suggests is to be found in damp places, with the food plant, Devils-Bit Scabious adjacent. It has been absent from Inishowen for a good number of years.
The beautiful, Large Emerald Moth trapped by George Mc Dermott,of the Inishowen Moth Survey Group in the Moville area , with a few of our members assisting.
 
Young Otter rescued near Dunree, and released by club rehabiliator Martin Moloney Ringed black-tailed Godwit at Blanket Nook on 28th Sept.08. recorded by Anthony Robb.
 
Tuesday 1st. Jan 08. At Malin Town today , a large mixed flock of Brent and Greylag Geese were reported, grazing in a field near the village, and later near Lagg ten Red-breasted Mergansers were recorded swimming and diving in the smooth water of the ebbing tide.
 
Sat. 5th. Jan. 08. No outing today due to severe weather.
 

Sat. 12th. Jan. 08. That terrible malady, known as Cabin Fever, that can effect those who like the great outdoors,especially at this time of year would have been dispelled today, with the wonderful sunny, mild, calm day. These were the conditions that we enjoyed as we visited the Isle of Doagh, Glasha, Malin Town , Lagg, and Malin Head. At all of these places the number of birds recorded was exceptional, with Barnacle Geese topping the list well in excess of eleven hundred, with lesser numbers of Brent. Also in large numbers were waders such as Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Curlew, Oystercatchers,and Godwit. The ducks observed included Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Red-brested Merganser, and a Goldeneye, that was spotted near Malin Town Bridge, and not often seen in that area. At Malin Head Eider was added to our list, while back at Lagg, Black Guillemot in their beautiful winter plumage, together with many Shag, were to be seen floating on the silkey smoothness of the outgoing tide.Also recorded was Buzzard, and Peregrine Falcon. A very pleasant start to our club activities for 2008

Sun. 13th. Jan. 08. The clubs January count of the Culdaff Estuary was carried out today with an expected increase in certain species. There has been a late communique received from our man, Boyd Bryce while on safari in darkest Meenavoggie, that a male Hen Harrier was seen in that area, we await further developments.

 

Sat. 19th. Jan. 08. Our contribution to the I-WeBS National winter count for January, was carried out today at the Inch Lake Nature Reserve, which was our designated area for the exercise. In excellent conditions, considering the weather of the past few days and the forecast for the oncoming week, Mary Mc Laughlin, Dermot Mc Laughlin, Martin Moloney, Terry Tedford, and Paddy Mc Crossan, after a brief meeting at Burnfoot with Andrew Speer of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, began the detailed recording of the species that were visible on the Lake and shore line. The only detracting factor was the exceptional high water level that left the number of Waders almost non existent, but on the plus side, we were treated to very large flocks of Lapwing flying in amazingly complex formations. also on view were Scaup, and Shoveler Duck, winter visitors from Iceland and Scandinavia. In Close proximity to the Lake six Buzzards and a Merlin were observed, as was Hedge Sparrow, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Linnet, Blue Tit, Great Tit, and Long-tailed Tit. We concluded our day with the satisfaction of a job well done.

 

Sat. 26th Jan. 08. The morning started with what looked like being a bright, dry, mild day, but that was soon dispelled, when near Malin Town, after recording a sizeable flock of Greylag Geese, and a female Peregrine Falcon, the rain and accompanying mist arrived and intensified as we journeyed to the Culdaff River Estuary, where despite the conditions we added large flocks of Curlew, Duck, Gull, and a small number of Little Grebe to our list. The visibility decreased to the point where no wildlife, and little of the countryside could be seen until we stopped for our tea break at Glennagivney Beach, where a few Shag, and Great Northern Divers were about discernable on the murky surface of the Bay. Proceeding to Greencastle and Moville, substantial numbers of Red-brested Merganser, and again Great Northern Diver were noted. At this point it was decided that there was little to be gained from proceeding any further, so we headed home, and concluded what was a rather disappointing day's birding.

 
Sun. 27th. Jan. 08. Very large flock of Barnacle Geese today near Malin Town. At Lagg the flock of Snow Bunting, are still to be seen in the same area as before, and that great white hunter Boyd Bryce bagged (in a visual sense) a flock of eighty Brent Geese in a field at Quigley's Point
 
Sat. 2nd Feb.08. Our clubs energy was directed to the clean-up operation that was taking place at Inch Lake, where the local gun clubs, and other groups and individuals that avail of this wonderful and fragile facility, were invited to participate. The overall operation was under the auspices of the National Parks and wildlife Service and executed with military like precision by Andrew Spear, and Martin Burke. During the course of our litter gathering, we did manage to see a large flocks of Lapwing, Golden plover, and many species of Duck. Also noted was the number of Buzzard in the area, that illustrates the success of the birds in Donegal, and especially in Inishowen.
 
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 10:15 AM
Subject: seal hunt survey,

The European Commission is considering a ban on the importation of seal-products into the EU. The ban could be instrumental in stopping the cruel slaughter of seals. The European Union has now released an official survey to give the public the opportunity to have their say.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary has successfully lobbied our MEP's to vote in favour of the introduction of this bill, in fact we had a 100% support from our MEP's across the political spectrum. We would like to see this ban successfully implemented in law.

You can have your say by completing the survey on the site linked below. Please choose

 'The placing on the market of seal products, wherever they come from,should be banned"    
 Thank You,
Pauline,

 http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=seals


Sat. 9th. Feb. 08. That great miracle of Mother Nature we call Spring, is awakening from her Winter slumbers, as was evident today, with the temperature in double figures, and the warming cast of sunlight, that painted the hills and countryside in the most beautiful shades of ochre, umber, and light red, contrasted by the fresh greens of the reviving pastures. This was the picture that greeted us this morning as we went through Glentogher, and on to Crehennan, and from there via Pennsylvania Bridge to the Tullyally area. Bird life was a little on the quiet side, apart from the ubiquitous Buzzard, and the flocks of Fieldfare, Starling, and large numbers of Blackbird. Also noted was the Bullfinch, a bird that would appear to be more common now than it was in past years. We took stock of the possible sites, where at a later date, a visit might reveal the presence of the little Green Hairstreak, and the elusive Holly Blue Butterfly. It's at times like this, that the halcyon days of summer peer over the horizons of our minds as we look forward to another exciting year of pleasant hours spent in the great outdoors.
 
Sat. 16th. Feb. 08. A below average number of club members, due to other commitments, turned out to complete the final winter count of the Inch Lake and part of the surrounding area on behalf of the I- WeBS National Winter Count. Those taking part were Martin Moloney, Dermot Mc Laughlin, and Paddy Mc Crossan. These stalwarts braved the biting East wind, and less than perfect visibility, caused by the grey overcast blanket that kept the Sun at bay, but by the diligent application to their task, as late afternoon approached, a sense of achievement was their reward for a job well done.
Black Swan at at Inch Lake today
 
Sun. 17th. Feb. 08. The penultimate winter count of the Culdaff Estuary was carried out today in glorious weather. It's noticeable how the number of species decline this month and next month from the peaks of December and January. but it's these variations that make the project interesting.
 

Thursday 21st. Feb. 08. A well attended A. G. M. was held last night, the 20th. in the Lake of Shadows Hotel Buncrana. Re-elected Chairman Dermot Mc Laughlin read a report on the clubs many activities over the past twelve months, and discussed what we hoped to achieve in the year ahead. An informative insight on the work carried out by our friends from the Inishowen Moth Group, George Mc Dermot , and Karl King, was much appreciated. Our report submitted to the Irish Raptor Study Group for the annual general meeting held last weekend in Dublin, was discussed by our dedicated rehabiliator Martin Moloney, who also compiled this detailed Document. The only change in the elected personnel was the unanimous selection of Mary Mc Laughlin, as secretary. A warm welcome was extended to our new member Molly Walsh from Gleneely. The proceedings ended with a slide show, and talk on the wildlife of Inishowen by chairman Dermot Mc Laughlin.

 

Sat. 24th. Feb. 08. An awe inspiring sea, with mountainous waves that crashed in great frenzied layers of swirling suds, on to the beach at Pollon Strand, was a stimulating start to our days activities. Near by a few families of Chough were flying with obvious pleasure through the strong wind in tempo with the raging sea, while large numbers of Oystercatchers screeched their piping alarm calls as we approached. At Figart on the Isle of Doagh, many pairs of Red- breasted Mergansers, patrolled the sheltered water of the bay, nearer the shore, Red Shank, Mallard, Black Headed Gull, and Curlew went about their business of having a late breakfast, due, no doubt to the high tide of the morning. Further out was a Goldeneye Drake, then a Great Northern Diver and a few Guillemot were observed, both species in their transitional plumage. As we were leaving, a Common Seal was seen observing our departure. At Glasha we were treated to a stunning display of Barnacle Geese appearing on the horizon at regular intervals in large skeins, like squadrons of bombers returning from a sortie over Dresden, to land on an adjacent pasture, this continued for about ten minutes. A number well in excess of a thousand was our estimate, as an accurate count was impossible due to the high density of the large flock. Later at Ballyhillion, Malin Head , a further flock of three hundred Barnacle was added to the list. So ended an enjoyable day in February as the rain started to fall.
 
Sat. 1st. Mar. 08. No outing today, due to the very severe weather of the last twenty four hours.
 
Sat. 8th. Mar. 08. Our destination today was dictated by the weather, with the very heavy overnight rain, and strong biting wind, and the forecast of more later. With this in mind it was decided that a certain shelter would be provided in Lisnagrath Wood. And so it proved, with the additional bonus of occasional shafts of bright warming sunlight that dispelled the pall of winter that pervades this wonderful place on a cold March day, but that will in a few weeks be rectified when it's wrapped in the soft green mantle of Spring. Our morning was further brightened by the sight of red squirrels feeding on the ground while others scampered through the denuded branches. Also recorded was that mouse like little bird, the Tree Creeper, climbing tirelessly to a great height on the trunks of majestic beech trees, then fly to the base of another and repeat the process again and again. From deeper in the wood the screeching call of Jays could be heard, and somewhere above the tall canopy the distinctive mewing call of Buzzards filtered through the wistful music of the wind as it coursed through the tall treetops. Later in the Birdstown area more Buzzards were observed drifting with obvious ease on the strong wind. It was also here that we met our good friend and nature lover William Willey, who is transforming an area pox marked by old sand and gravel pits to a wildlife friendly environment with the creation of a small lake, and the planting of trees on his property. A short time later and homeward bound, we had a brief chat with Andy Doherty, Sappagh, Muff, a man with a great interest in the local flora and fauna.
 
Sat. 15th. Mar. 08. Due to the very poor light, and the incessant drizzle, that persisted through the night, and as forecast, for the whole of today, it was decided to forgo our outing.
 
Sun. 16th. Mar. 08. The final winter count of the Culdaff Estuary was completed today.
 
Sat. 21st. Mar. 08. Last night the prospect of another Saturday spent cabin bound loomed large, with the forecast for more of the severe winter weather to prevail over the weekend. After some deliberation, it was decided to pay a visit to the Inch Lake area, where we could avail of the shelter that would be provided by the hide if necessary, this proved to be an excellent choice, with the added bonus of the high banking excluding the piercing North wind, and creating Spring like conditions, and where the many clumps of primroses illuminating the path as we meandered to the wooded area at the Burnfoot end of the walk. With the weather improving, only a short time was spent in the hide, where the many species of Duck, Geese, and waders were recorded out on the lake. Later at Blanket Nook, we added a pair of Pintail Duck, and a female Scaup to the list, . A small number of these ducks winter in Ireland and then return to Iceland, their best known breeding ground is the Lake Myvatn region in N. W. of the country. Also recorded were forty plus Black-tailed Godwit. In our company was Mark Herrick, a keen nature lover up from Galway for a few days, and who was very impressed by the large number and variety of Birds to be seen in the area, which also included Buzzard and kestrel.
 
Sat. 29th. Mar. 08. Bird life today in the skies over the Malin area was rather scarce, due to the fact that from mid morning the rain and mists descended until early afternoon, then things improved with the sun appearing and the dismal murkiness slithering Northwards, to be replaced by a pleasant afternoon. At Trawbreaga good numbers of Brent Geese, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Black headed, Herring, Common,and Black-headed Gulls, Curlew,and Oyster Catchers were recorded. Later in the afternoon a number of Buzzard, together with female Merlin and Kestrel were observed, as was a flock of three hundred plus Barnacle Geese at Malin Head. And as homeward bound, a flock of Greylag Geese was seen feeding in a field near Malin Town......... What a difference a burst of sunlight can make to a day out.
 
Sat. 5th. April. 08. No club outing today, due again to very severe weather , but we had reports of a large flock of Barnacle geese in the Trawbreaga area. On Wednesday last, from Inch Island, Boyd Bryce reported his first sighting for 08. of a Swallow near some farm buildings. Last year they were reports of swallows in the Buncrana region before the end of March. There have also been reports, from different parts of the Peninsula, of unidentified Butterflies in a few gardens, probable Small Tortoiseshell, that have been awakened from their winter hibernation, by the warmer days of midweek. Perhaps in the not so distant future we will be enjoying the more pleasant days of Spring, as we pursue some of the elusive butterflies, such as the Holly Blue, Marsh Fritillary, Large Heath, and Wall Brown.
 

Sat. 12th. April 08. Spring today opened it's long awaited treasure trove of miracles, with a generous bounty of gifts, among which was warm comforting sunlight, and calm conditions, and the many trees and hedges displaying their fresh young shoots together with the wild flowers strewn along the hedgerows, these included Primrose, Winter Aconite, Sweet Violet, and the beautiful blossom of the Blackthorn. This was the scene that greeted us at the pastoral landscape of Bogey, and which was further enhanced with a number of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, fluttering on the warm still air, that was filled with birdsong from recent arrivals such as Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, and Black Cap. Less musical was the raucous call of the Jays, seen enjoying the occasion, then disappearing in the cover of adjacent woodland. Further up the valley four Buzzards were observed drifting on the gentle morning zephyr. At Blanket Nook, a large flock of Godwit in their breeding plumage was recorded, the Pintail Duck seen a few weeks past, was still present. Later at Inch Levels, a large flock of Golden Plover (three hundred +) also in their breeding plumage was noted. Today we observed fourteen Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, an Otter,a Mink, and a few Swallows.

Sun. 13th. April. At Lagg today, twelve Sandwich Terns were resting on the sandy beach, having a well earned rest after their long journey to our shore. Not long after, a flock of Brent Geese in excess of one hundred was recorded, as was the first sighting for this year of a Wheatear.

Martin Moloney with new member Molly Walsh
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Sat. 19th. April 08. Good fortune smiled on us again today, with bright sunlight and a complete absence of rain, but a little on the cool side. At Culdaff, a fleeting glance at the estuary revealed only Great Black back, Lesser Black back, Black Headed, and Herring Gull present. The next stop was at Redford, where the woodland floor that drops to the bottom of the steep ravine was carpeted with a myriad of Wood Anemone flowers, and the occasional early Bluebell, that contrasted perfectly with the strong golden yellow of the Dandelion, that was the main attraction for a number of Tortoiseshell Butterflies. Further down this country idyll, a Sparrowhawk was observed carrying its kill to a secluded plucking post, and at the bottom of the lane a Buzzard, after a bit of a confrontation with a couple of Rooks, was seen soaring kite-like high above, on the cold stiff easterly breeze. Near Falmore, another Buzzard was recorded, as was the rather tatty Peacock Butterflies, that were enjoying the sunshine in a well sheltered corner, and they may even have over wintered here. The great influx from Africa of Willow Warblers, is always a source of wonder, with nearly every tree and bush accommodating these little songsters. Also in the general area, Redpoll were seen and heard, as was Swallow, House Martin, and earlier in the morning a Tree Creeper was noted.

 

Sat. 26th. April 08. With the exception of one Buzzard no other birds of prey were to be seen. This was at Blanket Nook, which was not our intended destination, that being Binnion, Rockstown Harbor, and Leenan areas of Clonmany, but again the weather prediction was not favorable, and this view was reinforced by very heavy rain before departure this morning, so instead we opted for the comfort zone that is the Inch Lake / Blanket Nook Areas, but as it transpired, we had a continuous display of rain- free sunshine, and were not disappointed in what was to be seen in these places . On the path, north of the pump house, a Stoat was observed scurrying speedily to the stone wall on the Lake side of the walkway, and shortly after, an Otter was watched bulldozing it way through the thick vegetation in one of the drainage channels. At the Woodland and picnic area, a Treecreeper was recorded in the same area as on our last visit, while in the dappled shade clumps of Sweet Violets, superimposed on a background of Golden Saxifrage, were gleaming like pieces of lapis lazuli, that attracted increasing species of Butterflies, including, Spotted Wood, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, (male and female) Tortoiseshell, and Peacock. The little Island in the Lake was hosting very large numbers of Black- headed Gulls, almost to the exclusion of the Arctic, and Sandwich Terns, with a flock of Godwit banished to a tiny strip of territory on the Easter flank. Further out many pairs of Great Crested Grebes, performed their beautiful ballet dances on what is a Swan Lake.

There will be a talk by Lorcan O' Toole, Manager of the Golden Eagle Reintroduction Project, in the Fort Dunree Museum, on Friday May 2nd. at 8.00. pm. .....Admission Free, Everyone Welcome. An interesting and informative evening assured.

 

Lorcan O'Toole, giving his illustrated talk on the Golden Eagle in Fort Dunree on Friday night. Some of those that attended the talk enjoying a cup of tea and a chat afterwards.
 
Sat. 2nd. May 08. After last nights informative, entertaining and well attended illustrated talk in Fort Dunree, on the Golden Eagle by Lorcan O' Toole, manager of the reintroduction project, it was decided that our club outing for today would revert to our planed trip to the Clonmany / Urris area, that had been postpones last week due to misleading weather predictions, and this morning we had to battle against rain and gale force wind as we checked the Binnion region where an abandoned nest containing one egg belonging to a Ringed Plover was found. Conditions improved when the rain ceased and the Sun made its appearance. South of Dunaff Head, a pod of eight Bottle nosed dolphins was recorded, as they frolicked on an angry sea, while further out a number of unidentified species were observed. At Leenan Fort, a Kestrel was seen near a traditional nesting site, as were a few pairs of Chough testing their aerial skills in the very severe gale. A little later a Magpie had a miraculous escape from a marauding Peregrine Falcon by diving into a deep gorge. But the highlight of the day was the joy of watching a Snipe at a distance of about twelve feet, with it's beautiful markings shining brightly in the afternoon Sunlight, as it fed in a little clearing among taller grass completely oblivious of our presence. What a privelage.
 
Sun. 4th. May 08 Our member Neil Doherty, Clonmany, reported seeing a Velvet Scoter Duck at Inch Lake this morning, and this was confirmed by Anthony Robb later this evening. At Lagg in the afternoon , a Buzzard was watched for some time, being harassed by a Kestrel, that persisted in driving the intruder from it's territory.
 
Mon. 5th. May 08. On a cold Winters evening in February last, it was decided to designate the 5th May, as the date for the club's Dawn Chorus event, and what an inspirational choice that was. With a well represented club membership, from Moville, Carndonagh, Buncrana, and Fahan arrived at our hosts, Boyd and Bridie Bryce's farm at Strahack, Inch Island, at 5.00 a.m.to be greeted by a musical extravaganza that could only have been composed and orchestrated in heaven by a masters hand. With contributions from the lowly Dunnock, the spirited Wren, Robin,Chaffinch, Sparrow, Redpoll, the masterful tones of the Willow Warbler, Chiffcfaff, and the Blackcap, on to the heavy weights, the Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, with the arias performed by the Song Thrush. While all this was going on, George Mc Dermot, and Karl King, were checking their Moth Traps that they had set out last night, and demonstrated their great knowledge of this fascinating pursuit. This done, it was time for breakfast, that Bridie provided for everyone with a generosity that is the norm for her, and that we all enjoyed in the morning sunshine. After our repast, Boyd took us on a short walk to a few vantage points so that we could view and appreciate the scenery, and peaceful atmosphere of this memorable occasion, that was greatly added to by the hospitality of Boyd and Bridie.
 
Sat. 10th. May 08. A very pleasant day was enjoyed in the Gleneely / Glennagivney area, where the landscape, gilded by the Midas touch, with the many acres of whin glistened in the midday sunlight, that extracted every molecule of it's perfume, that then wafted on the gentle breeze to fill the fields and laneways where the wildflowers were displaying their beauty for the world to see, with the Greater Stitchwort , Wood Anemone, Wood-Sorrel, Buttercup, Sweet Violet, and Primrose, holding pride of place. The Lady's Smock was having special attention from the hoards of Orange Tip Butterflies, with lesser numbers of Small Tortoiseshell frequenting the recently reinvigorated beds of nettles. Throughout the day we had the pleasure of recording eight Buzzards, a Sparrow hawk, and a Kestrel. From the dense cover that exists near Kinnagoe Bay, the song of the Willow Warbler, Gold Finch, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, added to the serene setting, and a bird that a few years ago was something of a rarity, the Blackcap, has now become quiet common, with many over-wintering here, also contributed with it's powerful rendition. Our quest for the diminutive Green Hairstreak Butterfly, where we found them last year was not so productive, due perhaps to the lack of sunlight and warmth earlier in the morning. Also missing from our Peninsula is the beautiful Holly Blue Butterfly, and as the name suggests lives where Holly and Ivy abounds. We would be grateful for any reported sightings of this work of art.
 

Sat. 17th. May 08. With the gloriously sunny weather of the past few weeks, it was decided to pursue our interest in the Butterfly species that have been the focus of our attention since early Spring. So today we visited the Eastern side of the peninsula, but with the absence of the essential Sunshine and the temperature struggling to reach double figures, the results to say the least were disappointing. We paid visits to old and new sites, to check for the Green Hairstreak, but none were recorded. We had to wait until 1.pm.before we could see our first Butterfly of the day and that was a Green-veined White, usually very common. At Moville, in a location where the Holly Blue had been reported a few years past, a few Orange Tip, and Speckled wood were recorded, but no Holly Blue. It was here that one of our group stumbled across a sleeping Fox, to disrupt it's afternoon siesta. At Greencastle pier we were treated to an unusually close-up view of a pair of Black Guillemots sitting on the wall behind the ice house, but they eventually flew out on on to the fast flowing tide. The Club was asked to participate in the Biodiversity Week events being held in St Eugene's Hall, Moville, so our rehabilator, Martin Moloney gave a talk on Raptors, and with the participation of many members of the audience, handling the Birds, and having photographs taken it was deemed very popular with the young and not so young. Then to round off our days activities, Dermot Mc Laughlin gave a very comprehensive and entertaining illustrated talk on the many diverse interest's in both Flora and Fauna, enjoyed by our club.

 

There will be a Talk and Power Point presentation on the Corncrake in Inishowen, by Sandy Alcorn. (Donegal Corncrake Field Worker) on Friday night 23rd.May. at 8.30.pm. in Fort Dunree, with the prospects of a walk after in the local area ,where the bird may be heard. (depending on weather conditions) Admission Free. All Welcome
 
The corncrake is a scarce summer visitor to a few places on the West and North coast, and is under great pressure to survive as it's numbers are dwindling. A section of the members and friends after the talk by Sandy Alcorn on The Corncrake, in Dunree Fort, and before visiting a site where the bird was heard.
 

Sat.24th. May 08. Last nights talk and slide show, presented by Sandy Alcorn, on the Corncrake, was much appreciated by the large turn out in Dunree. Her relaxed style, coupled with her obvious knowledge of the subject, had the sizable audience listening to her every word, and after she had finished, there was a question and answer session which then left everyone in a mood to enjoy the light refreshments, provided as is usually the case, with great friendliness and generosity by Bernie Long, with assistance from manager David Mc Gee. for which we are most grateful. Having now being suitably fortified, we stepped into the glooming of a beautiful night and set off to beyond the Fort's perimeter, where, as we had hoped was a most cooperative Corncrake calling from a field across the valley. I don't think we could arrange another occasion to match this magical evening.........After this we decided to visit the Eastern side of the Peninsula today. With the disappointment of last week in mind, and Butterflies again our focus, we soon discovered that the only change from last Saturday was the addition of Sunshine, that was accompanied by a biting East Wind, which left butterflies a rather scarce item, with the exception of a very sheltered habitat where large numbers of Green-veined White, were floating in cloud like drifts, with an occasional Orange Tip and Speckled Wood intermingled. To compensate for this, large numbers of small birds, ie, Redpoll, Siskin, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, and a pair of Crosbill, were recorded. Not to be out done a couple of Buzzard made an apperance............ I suppose there is never a bad day to get in a bit of bird watching. We had a report from Moville man, Mark Daly, of five Buzzards soaring high above the town last week.

Sat. 31st. May 08. No Club outing today.

 
Sat.7th. June 08. What a treat it was today, the countryside was proudly garbed in it's Summer best, with the fluffy heads of the Bog Cotton nodding in the gentle breeze, and the extravagant display of the mythical Hawthorn with it's myriad blossoms slowly changing from it's pristine white to one with a hint of pink. At the bogland on the eastern side of Crockcroosky, the more mobile members charged through the deep heather in pursuit of the Small Heath Butterflies that fluttered hurriedly on the shimmering morning air. A sense of disappointment was felt at Cambry, Gleneely, where last year there was an abundance of Green Hairstreak Butterflies, but today, not one. We were well compensated later with the number of small birds to be seen, and heard, including Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Crossbill, Chiffchaff, Siskin, Goldcrest, Grasshopper Warbler, Chaffinch, Pipit, Thrush, Blackbird, Starling. Then to the larger birds, like the Raven, Hooded Crow, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and to top the list twelve Buzzard. A beautiful day was enjoyed by all, including new member Killian Mc Laughlin, who is no stranger to the world of animals.

Martin, Mary, and new member Killian Mc Laughlin.

 
Sun. 8th. June 08. There has been a reported Sighting of an Osprey at Inch Lake, and at Blanket Nook, which has been confirmed by Anthony Robb, who said that it was also seen a short time later by Dermot Breen. Anthony also reported the sighting of a Red-neck Pharlope, on Lough Swilly at Blanket Nook earlier in the week.
 
Sat. 14th. June 08. The Search for Butterflies topped our list of priorities today, with anything else that would present it's self, considered a bonus. With our assembly point the Isle of Doagh road, and a bright dry sunny morning suggested that the gods might be with us in our quest, but as we meandered through the Dune system near the golf course, at Craighawannia, a reliable habitat in the past for various species of Butterflies, we soon realized that it was not going to live up to our expectations today, with only six Green-veined white, and one Common Blue, this was not what we expected. The exception was the large numbers of Small Heath fluttering as they do, no higher than the tall Marm Grass, these little Butterflies are very common this year. We also recorded Four Cinnabar, and three Burnet Moths.As we plodded through a disused sand excavation where Grasshoppers filled the air with their gentle rhythms, we disturbed a family of Foxes that had been lazing in the afternoon sunshine, and without any great haste, made their exit into the cover of the Dunes. On our way to Carrickabraghy, to the North of the Isle, we recorded six more Green-veined White, and one Large White, later a visit to the picnic area near Doaghmore, revealed three more G.V.W. and one unidentified brown coloured Butterfly that made a very brief appearance and disappeared as quickly into the deep undergrowth. A rather disappointing day in some respects, with not a bird of prey to record, and only a couple of Wheatear, a few Willow Warbler, and out to sea a raft of Eider Duck, floating serenely on a motionless tide that was being penetrated by hungry Gannets, that travel great distance to feed off our coast. Our disappointment was countered with the wonderful weather, and the beautiful scenery of the Isle of Doagh.
 
Pictured is an albino Sparrow reported to us by Ronald Boggs, Malin Town to day the 16th June. A Common Lizzard, also found today, at Crackna, Culdaff, and photographed by Stoycho Danev.
 

Sat. 21st June 08. Disappointing might be a suitable description for this Summer solstice day club outing, with only a small number of members able to participate, due to unavoidable commitments of other members elsewhere. Our first stop was at Lisnagrath Wood, where through the dense foliage of the treetops a lone Buzzard was briefly observed, with a few wing feathers missing, which would be due to the molting season that has now started. Lower in the wood, and the adjoining hedgerows, many smaller birds were seen and heard, mostly in family groups, with the young birds making demands on parents for sustenance. The time spent here was curtailed due to the clouds of Piranha like midges, that had us glad to escape to the less infested Birdstown area, where again the little birds were most evident, they included small families of Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tits, Wrens, Chaffinch, Sparrow, Greenfinch,House Martin, Sand Martin, and Swallow. Later at the area north of Inch Lake, a few Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, and Large White Butterflies were Recorded, as was a Sparrow Hawk, and as has happened in the last number of weeks a Fox made a brief appearance. Now with the predicted rain and wind threatening, it was decided to call a halt to the days proceedings.

 
Sat 26th. June 08. Yet again, another less than perfect day for our birding activities, which were conducted at Inch Lake, Farland Bank, and later with a short visit to Blanket Nook. At all of these places the birds were mostly earth bound, perhaps as was noted last week, that it was due to the fact that the molt was in progress. A most pleasant walk was had to where the site for the footbridge across the Burnfoot river is being prepared, and where four ringlet, two Meadow Brown, six Green-veined White, and one Large White Butterflies were recorded..........Earlier in the week our friend the landscape artist, (the botanical kind), and Moth expert George Mc Dermott, informed us that a number of Dolphin, probable Bottlenose were seen near the Marina at Fahan, and later a photograph of a dead Dolphin, that was washed up near Blanket Nook was received from Anthony Robb, ..........On our way home today, our new member Killian Mc Laughlin invited us to see some Grey Partridge that he is rearing, and to have a look at his collection of exotic animals, including Monkeys, Arctic Foxes, Wallabies, Eagle Owls, Polecats and many more. I suppose it's not a bad day when you can say that you saw such a diverse collection of animals in Inishowen.
 
Sat. 6th. July 08. Yes, another dark, grey, damp, blustery day, with again our destination the Inch Lake, Blanket Nook area, but on this occasion with a special focus, as we had been requested by Paul Hillis of the Rare Breeding Birds Survey, to check on any Whooper Swans, that might be breeding in the area, as they have done so in the past. There appears to be a resident group in existence here for a number of years, that average about twelve birds. On this occasion unfortunately we were unable to report seeing any young Cygnets. Teal, and Pochard, were among other birds that could be breeding here also, but today there was no evidence to support this. We did record large numbers of Mallard, Tufted, and a few Shell Duck, large numbers of Mute Swans, Redshank, one Greenshank, a flock of Bar-tailed Godwit in their beautiful cinnamon Breeding plumage, also present were Greylag and Canada Geese, Black-headed Gulls and Terns. Being the dull sort of day that was in it, the only Butterfly's recorded were four Ringlet.
 

Sat. 12th. July 08. Our weekend activities commenced last night when we went to the farm of Dennis and Cathy O' Donnell's farm at Craighnahorna, near Carndonagh, where we met George Mc Dermott, and Karl King, of the Inishowen Moth Survey Group, assisted by Susan Shiels,as they set up their traps. Conditions were far from perfect, with a cold North wind blowing, that was more reminiscent of March than July. The expectations of a great collection of our quarry was not high, but on our return this morning, we were somewhat surprised by the number and diversity of species collected. To Dennis, Cathy, and Children, a special thank you for the friendly and hospitable welcome extended to us at your wonderful wildlife habitat .......Later in the morning some of our members made their way to the Dune System at Craighawinnia, on the Isle of Doagh, where the absence of Butterflies experienced over the past few months was abruptly brought to an end, with the greatest display of these wonderful works of creation, fluttering with gay abandon over the long Marrm Grass. The species included Dark Green Fritillary, in their hundreds, as were Common Blue, Meadow Brown, and lesser numbers of Ringlet, and Greyling, one Red Admiral, and one Green-veined White were also recorded. With the pleasant warm sunshine, a complete change from last night, an enjoyable, and rewarding day was had.

 
Sat. 19th. July 08. We were of the opinion that last friday evening, when setting Moth Traps with the Inishowen Moth Survey Group, was chilly, but today, were it not for the bright sunshine, you would be excused for thinking that it was Winter, with the very strong piercingly cold wind blowing from polar parts. Whatever happened to global Warming? That was our experience this morning, when we paid a visit to the Illies, with it's great expanse of conifers in their many different stages of growth and shades of green. Disappointingly the bird life was not what we had hoped for, but we did record Buzzard, Kestrel, Jay, Chaffinch, Raven, Hooded Crow, Magpie, and Starling. On our way to Glentogher the wind was driving the waters of the Fullerton Dam with such force over the overflow steps, that it looked like a great spillage of some sort of emulsified white liquid, that was then transformed to the dark Peat-stained swirling mass that thundered it's way down stream. A little further on in a sheltered forest road we had our first sighting of a few Butterflies that included Meadow Brown, Ringlet. and Green-veined White. Along the roadside Near Cabry, Quigley's Point, there were beautiful displays of wild Fuchsia, Mimulus, Yellow-rattle, Foxglove, Buttercup, Rose-bay Willowherb, Dandelion, Sow-thistle, Tormentil, Ragwort, Common Fleabane, together with the many magnificent grasses that make a beautiful floral arrangement when displayed in an appropriate container. When next you are in the great outdoors, have a look at some of natures treasures that we usually just take for granted.
 

Sat. 26th. July 08. A very pleasant day was enjoyed on the high central Moorlands of the Inishowen Peninsula, in the company of member George Mc Dermott, but who today was wearing his Inishowen Moth Survey hat. After accompanying george last night to set up his traps, we returned this morning to a glorious landscape coloured with a myriad of carefully chosen tints from Natures paleete, highlighted by the rays of the warm sunlight, to find what surprises that might be in store for us as we emptied the traps, and with a count of twenty-seven species, and contained therein was something rather special with the capture of a Bordered Grey, only the second recording of this species in Inishowen, and a third for the Scarce Silver Y. (as showen below) and on the previous ocassion both were recorded by George. Among the many other species captured was the Ruby Tiger, a common but nontheless beautiful Moth. After releasing all the insects, we partook of our mandatory cup of tea and sandwich at the placid shore of Lough Fad, where Meadow brown, Ringlet, Large White, and Green-veined White Butterflies fluttered on the warm air that reverberated with the song of the many Grasshoppers, from somewhere in the lush vegetation. Our next and final stop of the outing was at Sea level, where in the Sand Dune System at Lagg it was noticed that there was a lesser number of Dark Green Fritillary present,than had been over the past few weeks, but that was compensated for with good numbers of Meadow Browns, Green-veined White, Ringlet, Greyling , and small numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, and Small Copper Butterflies.

 
Sat. 2nd. Aug. 08. Today we paid a visit to the upper area of the Aught and Gortin regions of Ture, a countryside draped in a great patchwork quilt, formed by the many squares of forest in their green garbs of varying shades, depicting their age and development. It was a time of very hot sunshine interspersed with cool rainy periods. During the former, there were lots of Butterflies enjoying the climatic conditions, and the dense vegetation that was providing a cornucopia of nectar filled treats. Ringlet and Green-veined White, were in plentiful supply, together with Twelve + Small White, seven Meadow Brown, and six Tortoiseshell Butterflies. Also recorded were six Buzzard, soaring effortlessly on the rising thermals, and from within a few of the wooded areas two families of Sparrow Hawks could be seen and heard. Later in the afternoon a halt was called to the days activity due to the more persistent rain.
 
Sat.9th. Aug. 08. On a gently swaying sea of maize, that sparkled in the warm morning breeze with a spindrift of the many hundreds of Large White, Green-veined White, and Speckled Wood Butterflies nectaring on the abundance of flower heads on sixty acres of what will be later harvested as cattle feed. This was what we were treated to as we drove on the newly surfaced road to the car parking facility at Inch Lake. Later many more of the aforementioned Butterflies were noted, with the addition of three of the most pristine Peacock specimens imaginable on the sheltered pathway to the Bridgend picnic area. On the Inch Lake were large numbers of Mute and a small party of Whooper Swans, Mallard, and family's of Tufted Duckling being promenaded by proud mothers, while on the far banks large flocks of Canada and Greylag Geese browsed on the rich soft grasses. During our lunch break at the Farland Bank we were entertained by a family of Sparrow Hawks, honing their flying skills, as dictated by their parents. The outing concluded with a visit to Blanket Nook, where approximately three hundred Greylag Geese were recorded, and a mixed flock of Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit. We also had the pleasure of having a chat with young Anthony Robb, who has a very keen interest and knowledge of the wildlife of the area, and who keeps us informed on any unusual sightings on his patch.

 

 

Anthony Robb our man at Blanket Nook.

 

 
As part of the National Heritage Week activities, and at the request of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the Inishowen Wildlife Club are hosting a Whale Watch at Dunree Fort on Sunday 24th. August 08. from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. With it's many high vantage points Dunree is an ideal venue for sea watching, so don't forget your binoculars or scopes.... Everyone welcome.......... For further information contact Dermot Mc Laughlin at 074 9361570.
 
Sat. 16th. Aug. 08. Today was memorable for a few reasons, and one was that it was the day the Monsoon arrived, not only for Inishowen, but for the whole of Ireland, with torrential incessant rain that caused flooding in many parts of the country. Due to the conditions there was no club outing, but a few representatives met with Karen Dubsky from Trinity College Dublin, who had requested a meeting with our group. Karen is involved in coastal environmental studies, and as such was anxious to see what the ravages of time and erosion was having in the area and also to enquire about the flora that would be peculiar to the Peninsula. She was most impressed by what she had seen, and has promised a return visit in the near future.
 
Sat.23rd. Aug. 08. No club outing today, but Daniel Moloney reported seeing a Short-eared Owl , perched on a post at a distance of about thirty feet, at 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday evening at Culoort, Malin Head. The following morning Martin Moloney reported seeing a Corncrake flying in the same area.
 
Sunday 24th. Aug. 08. The Whale Watch event that forms part of the National Heritage Week activity, in conjunction with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, and hosted by our club at Dunree today proved a great success, with large crowds enjoying the favorable weather. A very big ''Thank You'' to David and Bernie and all the staff of Dunree for adding to the enjoyment of the occasion. Below are a few pictures from today
 
Sat. 30th. Aug. 08. A pleasant and enjoyable day was had when we met up with Ralph and Liz Sheppard and their party of birders, some of which were on holiday from England, and who were suitably impressed by what they saw at the Inch Lake Wildlife Area. Ralph's outing was one of the last on the penultimate day of the Heritage week activities for 2008. (The local final event is at Dunree tomorrow when the renowned storyteller Bertie Bryce, and father of our member Boyd, will without doubt entertain the audience with inimitable panache as he relates tales from his many yesterdays.) After Ralph's group finished at the Farland Bank, we proceeded to Blanket Nook where we recorded a Peregrine Falcon, and a Buzzard hunting over the Autumnal farmland setting, and at the Nook were large numbers of Mallard, Tufted, and lesser numbers of Teal and a few Shoveler Duck, also present were Greenshank, Redshank, Godwit, Lapwing, Coot, Cormorant, and the surprise of the day was the large Charms of Goldfinch, which we estimated to total near two hundred. Later with the approaching mist and light drizzle that was casting a monochromatic tone over the area, we decided to call a halt to our outing.
 
Sat. 6th. Sept. 08. We continued our quest for the elusive Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, by looking for its beautiful blue, food plant, namely Devil's Bit Scabious, where at this time of year, the insects eggs have been cocooned at the base of the plant, and then hopefully next May / June, the miracle of metamorphoses will have this wonderful creation fluttering unobtrusively over it's marshy habitat. In glorious sunshine we achieved part of our task, with the discovery of large areas of the Scabious flower in the Malin area. It was noted that the number of Chough at Lagg was building up, and will culminate by the end of October in a flock of well over one hundred, which is a sight to behold. Our outing finished on this glorious autumn day on a high note, when we recorded mixed flocks of Twite and Linnet also in the Malin region, they usually come from their mountain habitat, to spend the Winter near the Coast.
 
Tue. 9th. Sept. 08. The following report was received from Boyd Bryce on his ringing of Storm Petrel for the 2008 season.............. We went ringing on eight nights at Tullagh Point, Clonmany, and the numbers caught ranged from 8 to 121 birds in a night. The grand total for the year was 475. Of these 14 were already ringed, and 12 had B.T.O. rings, which meant they had been ringed around the British Isles or Ireland, details of which I will receive later. 2 birds had Portuguese rings, which meant that they had been ringed on that coast, probably by an organization called A Rocha. We have handled birds of theirs before. On this project I was assisted by a number of people, the main ones were Kevin Doherty, Fiona Doherty, Chris Ramsey, and Daniel Moloney, I am most grateful to Anthony Devlin, on whose land we carried out the captures.
 
Thurs. 11th. Sept. 08. Daniel Moloney has reported seeing a golden Eagle, in the Illies at 4.15. pm. on Monday last the 8th. inst. Daniel watched the bird ,which had no obvious signs of a wing tab, being mobbed by a pair of Buzzards. The confrontation continued for more than twenty minuets, before the Eagle conceded defeat and set off in the direction of Slieve Snaght. Also observed in the area was a Peregrine Falcon.
 
Sat.13th. Sept. 08. We assembled at the Clochan , Glentogher, this morning, as the overnight mist dissipated with the warming sun, to reveal a countryside resplendent in it's Autumnal garb, and where the whin and bramble were tastefully decorated with dew encrusted gossamer, shimmering in the newly emerged sunlight. Our destination was what might be described as the backbone of the Peninsula, which brought us through Cabry, Creehennan, and Drung, where at Lough Inn we watched Mallard duck feeding on the semi-submerged weeds at the Lake side. Later at Carrickmaquigley, we had a rather unusual sight of a large number of Swallows spread over the tiled roof of a new house, indulging in the heat radiating from the sun soaked tiles that would remind them of their African Winter retreat. We next arrived at Lough Fad, on a road through a virgin bog land with all it's tones of ochre, umber, and red, interspersed with smudges of green. Then, over the unusually named Pennsylvania Bridge to Tullally where we watched Buzzards float majestically against a cerulean cloudless sky, and where Peacock, Green-veined White and a few Small copper Butterflies fluttered hurriedly over the dwindling food sources. Large charms of Goldfinch were evident throughout our travels, as was a flock of Long-tailed Tits recorded at the forest on Glencaw Hill and where the raucous call of Jays echoed from within the stillness of the woodland. We were delighted to have the company of our new member, Jim Toland from Letterkenny, but who has close ties with Inishowen, Jim enjoyed his visit to the more Eastern side of the Peninsula on this most beautiful day.
 
We are hosting a talk on Badgers by Dr. Paddy Sleeman, an acknowledged expert on mammals, and has studied Bovine T.B. and Badgers for twenty years. He is working with his team in U.C.D. to produce a vaccine to combat the spread of T.B in cattle. The venue is Dunree Fort on Friday 26th at 8.00pm.......... Everyone Welcome........... Admission free.
 
Sat. 20th. Sept. 08. A meander through the wonderful woodland that is Lisnagrath, is where we started today. The experience was more than a wildlife activity, it bordered on the spiritual, to walk through this leafy cathedral with it's great columns of mature giants comprising Beech, Scotch Fir, and Chestnut , reaching far up into the morning sky, with warm shafts of sunlight penetrating the still dense canopy to sprinkle the forest floor with a myriad of twinkling illuminations. The mewing call of Buzzards could be heard, but not seen due to the density of the leaf cover, as was the sound of distant Jays. Lower down, and with great urgency a flock of Long-tailed Tits flitted through the bushes to procure a mid morning snack. Shortly afterwards at Gortcormigan we followed their example, and had our cuppa, and while doing so watched five Buzzards doing what they do best, soaring on the warm thermals high above William Wileys wood. Our day concluded with a visit to Gortin, Ture, where we recorded another couple of buzzards, and a Kestrel, that spent a considerable length of time in the area hovering, and plummeting to the ground to procure its prey, and then to repeat the process again and again. It was here also that a Peacock Butterfly was noted, while earlier a Speckled Wood was added to the list.
 
Sunday. 21st. Sept. At 12.30 pm. Dermot Mc Laughlin reported the presence of sixteen Brent Geese, on the shore near the Castle, Buncrana. This is the first reported sighting for the Autumn of 2008
 
Some of those that attended last nights talk on the Badger, by Dr Paddy Sleeman enjoying a cup of tea. Our club secretary Mary Mc Laughlin and Dr. Paddy Sleeman, in a jovial mood at Dunree.
Sat. 27th. Sept 08. After last nights most informative illustrated talk by Dr. Paddy Sleeman on the Badger, that extended to include the dangers involving the immanent encroachment of the Grey Squirrel to Inishowen, and the detrimental effect that it would have on our native species, the Red Squirrel, which has establishing a foot-hold in the area over the past few years. Other species discussed were Otter, and Deer. After Paddy's talk there was a lively and intelligent question and answer session, that was followed by an informal get-together cup of tea, provided as usual by the reliable Bernie. Today a good number of members set off to The Bogay District, where as expected we recorded large numbers of Buzzard , Sparrow hawk, and a small flock of Jays, busily feasting on their favorite acorns. Also observed was a Red Squirrel seen scampering hurriedly across a little roadway to the sanctuary of a tall Scotch Fir, sometime later in the same area a flock of forty plus Larks were recorded as were Goldfinch, and Long-tailed Tits. On Dooish Mountain as evening approached and with fading light, to be followed by light drizzle, we called a halt to proceedings after a pleasant day spent in the great outdoors.
 
Sun 28th. Sept. The first small Flock of Brent Geese ( twelve ) to return to Trawbreaga Bay for the 08/09 season was recorded close to Lagg Presbyterian Church this afternoon. Sometime earlier a flock of thirty Plus Twite were observed near the beach.
 
Sat. 4th. Oct. 08. Due to the forecast of gales and heavy rain, it was decided yesterday evening to call off today's outing, and what a fortunate decision that was. But one member braved the elements and went to the Causeway road leading to Inch Island, where he was entertained for a considerable length of time at close range by a large Dog Otter wrestling with a few eels. Last night Boyd Bryce reported seeing a short-eared Owl near Inch Lake. and stated that earlier in the week (Monday) a Hen Harrier was seen flying, again in the Lake area, as was the case on Tuesday, when a Hen Harrier was recorded by Dermot and Danny Mc Laughlin. Then on Thursday morning a Hen Harrier was observed from the Mountain Road near Carndonagh, flying in the direction of Craighnahorna. Midweek, Paddy Mc Clure, Gortnacoole, Carndonagh, reported seeing and hearing Whooper Swans, flying on their way to their Winter refuge at either the Foyle or Swilly areas. Finaly George Mc Dermot reported a flock of Whoopers flying over his house in Buncrana last night, heading in the direction of Burt.
 
Sun. 5th. Oct. 08. A small flock of Wigeon Duck was recorded today at Lagg, on Trawbreaga Bay, the vanguard for the many more that will arrive on our shores over the next few weeks, from their breeding ground in Iceland. Coupled with the arrival of the Brent geese, and the Whooper Swans over the past week, can Winter be far behind ?
 
Sat. 11th. Oct. 08. What a difference a week can make, with last Saturdays torrential downpour, propelled by a strong cold wind, to the Summer-like conditions experienced today. Our first stop this morning was at Mc Sheffrey's Bridge, where we surveyed part of Trawbreaga Bay, which had large flocks of Gulls, including, Black-backed, Herring, and Black-headed, interspersed with the ubiquitous Curlew and Oyster Catcher. Then at Lagg Presbyterian Church we recorded an increasing number of Widgeon, and Brent Geese, also observed from this vantage point was a large flock of Chough, cavorting with their inimitable flying skill, and apparent enjoyment, just as we were leaving a Buzzard made a brief appearance before flying off in the direction of Cranny Hill. At Knockglass on our way to what must be Irelands most awe inspiring view, thats to be had from Knockamany, we enjoyed a close-up view of two Buzzards, one of which was foraging through a strip of weeds and potatoes tops, while the other kept watch from a post not far away. From White Strand Bay, where a lone Greenshank sheltered in a little rock pool, to Ballygorman, the Sea was in less than a benevolent mood, as it sent the giant swells from mid Atlantic or beyond, crashing mercilessly on to the many Islets and rocks that guard the shoreline of this rugged coast, sending exploding plumes of pristine foam that sparkled in the afternoon Autumn Sunlight, against a cloudless blue backdrop. Oblivious to all this chaos were the many rafts of Eider Duck, appearing briefly, only to disappear again in the troughs of the turbulent ocean. With evening approaching, so ended a wonderful day in communion with the joys of Nature on this most beautiful and Northern part of our Island .
 

Sat. 18th. Oct. 08. Good fortune smiled on us again today, with another sun blessed adventure, and a bountiful presentation of bird life at Inch lake, and the Burt area in general, where we estimated well in excess of two thousand Whooper Swans, with more arriving by the hour. Also present in large numbers were flocks of Linnet, busily feeding on the plentiful supply of seed to be had from the sea of maize, that will soon be harvested as cattle feed, while along the top of the old railway embankment swarms of small flies presented a sumptuous feast for the many species of small birds, that included House Sparrow, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, and a pair of Bullfinches. Again this year the absence of Swans, Geese, Duck, and Waders from the pastures adjacent to the Lake, is a cause for some concern. On the Lake it was a different situation with very large numbers of Whooper and Mute Swan, Greylag and Canada Geese, Mallard, Widgen, Tufted, Teal, and Scaup Duck, Great Crested and Little Grebe, Redshank and Greenshank. During our tea break we had the pleasure of meeting with our good friends, Richard Smith, Roger Murray, Pam Hardiman and Gillian Cooke from the newly formed Foyle Bird Watchers Club who were also enjoying this beautiful Autumn day, and informed us of their recording a Black Duck earlier in the morning at Blanket Nook. Another pleasant surprise was to see the progress that is being achieved with the erection of a new hide and foot-bridge at the Northern end of the Lake. During the course of our outing we recorded nine Buzzards, and three Sparrowhawks. As is usual, our last stop was at Blanket Nook where again large numbers of birds were noted, but with the unfavorable light we could not see the Black Duck recorded earlier in the day by our Derry friends, but that was compensated for by a good sighting of the old reliable Kingfisher.

 
Sat. 25th. Oct. 08. A few stalwart members defied the strong winds and rain, and were rewarded with a higher than expected show of wildlife in it's many different forms, that included a family of Otter, that was unconcerned by the human proximity, perhaps they were paying special attention to what they were being taught, young Otters stay with the mother for almost twelve months, by which time they will have acquired the skills to see them survive on their own. A fox, that no doubt has acquired these skills was seen sneaking away to the dense cover of heavy scrub. Later three Kingfisher, two Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were recorded, as was an excess of one thousand Golden Plover. All of this excluded the great number of Whooper, Mute Swans, Greylag, Canada Geese, Duck and Waders that were on the Inch Lake. The other areas visited included the Farland Bank and Blanket Nook.
 
Tues. 28th. Oct. 08. A Marsh Harrier with a tag on it's left wing, was recorded by Dermot and Danny Mc Laughlin at Inch Lake this afternoon. It was observed for approximately half a hour before flying off.
 
Sat. 1st. Nov. 08. In more benign conditions than last Saturday, it was decided that another visit to the Inch Lake area would be a good idea, and so it proved, with the spectacle of an estimated two thousand Linnets, like swarms of flies, enjoying the rich harvest of food to be had from the immense prairie of maize, that has yet to be harvested. On the Lake large numbers of Whooper Swans, approximately six hundred, together with the resident population of Mute, were just part of the comings and goings, that was added to by the many Greylag and Canada Geese and the hundreds of Mallard, Teal, Tufted, and Shell Duck. Also recorded on the water was Great-crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Merganser, Black Guillemot, Black-tailed Godwit, and again, Kingfisher were to be seen. A little later, and as last week a couple of Otter made their appearance. Over head a flock of approximately two hundred and fifty Golden Plover at sometimes great heights, performed their spectacular fly-by's. Also spotted in the area was a Male Peregrine. We had a report from Anthony Robb, of four hundred plus Greylag geese and two hundred and fifty Whooper Swans, one of which had a leg band, that he recorded at Blanket Nook earlier in the week.
 
Sat. 8th. Nov. 08. Today the club was involved in the I-webs Autumn count of bird life on Lough Swilly. Our designated count area was Lisfannon, and the Fahan Creek, that extended to the causeway road leading to Inch Island and included observations from the Island's shore line. We were fortunate that the day started rain free, if a little on the gray and chilly side, and remained so until we had finished our task. Being at close proximity to Inch Lake we decided to have a look at the ongoing development of the new hide and foot-bridge, which will be a great asset to bird watchers, and those that enjoy a peaceful stroll on the nature trail that extends for a couple of miles,where with due consideration for the wildlife, can be a tranquil and therapeutic experience. The large flocks of Golden Plover, that were observed last week and the week previous, in this area have by now have reached numbers in excess of two thousand birds, and also as in previous accounts the large flocks of Linnets, are still feeding on the bountiful maize, and they in turn are providing the many Peregrine , Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, and Merlin, that we recorded with a plentiful source of sustenance. Members involved in today's count were Mary Mc Laughlin, Dermot Mc Laughlin, Danny Mc Laughlin, Martin Moloney, and Paddy Mc Crossan.
 

Sat. 15th. Nov. 08. What a beautiful warm sunny morning at the Silvered silken surface of Inch Lake, where we returned to again today, because at this time of year so much is to be seen and heard here. From the new viewing platform, the arrivals and departures of the many Swan, Geese, Duck, and waders, was like the traffic you would imagine at some of the worlds busiest airports. The high point of the morning was the darting flight from near where we were standing, of that tenacious little killer, the Merlin, that was creating havoc among the many flocks of birds, as it headed towards the Inch side of the lake, but before getting there, it attacked and killed it's, rather large prey, in the form of a Lapwing. It's not often you are offered the opportunity to witness such an event. The total number of Merlin recorded in this area before lunch time, and prior to our moved to the Farland Bank, and then Blanket Nook, was three, and two Kestrel. The large flocks of Golden plover, and Linnets, are still to be seen in the area, as is the good number of Buzzard. We enjoyed the company of John and Terence Coyle, from Buncrana, who were recording video footage of the wildlife in the vicinity of the Lake.

 
Sun. 16th. Nov 08. Large flocks of Barnacle Geese, totaling an estimated eight / nine hundred birds were reported near Malin Town, this afternoon .
 
Inishowen Environmental Group.

Will hold their annual tree sale on Sat. 29th. Nov. at the Donagh Cross, Church Road . Carndonagh, starting at 11.oo am. Do your bit to reduce Global Warming, plant a tree. Only 2 Euro per tree.

 
Sat. 22nd. Nov. 08. The reality of winter was imposed on us today, when we started our search of the Trawbreaga Bay area at the Isle of Doagh, where we were greeted by a biting North wind, and leaden skies, that were to persist throughout our search. The main purpose of today's exercise was to check on the number of Barnacle, and Brent Geese, that might be seen feeding on the still lush pastures that surround the estuary. After we left the Isle of Doagh we continued our quest at Glasha, Malin Town, and finally Lagg. The days sightings were four flocks of Barnacle, containing near the numbers we had expected, while the Brent were distributed generously on most of the Bay's shoreline. Also recorded were Mallard, Widgen, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, and Goldeneye Duck. And present in good numbers were Redshank, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Curlew, Grey Heron, Cormorant, and lesser numbers of Greenshank, and a couple of Whooper Swans. Due to the overcast conditions, visibility was not what we would have liked , but it was compensated for by the fact that it remained dry for our day out.
 
Sat. 29th. Nov. 08. A glistening frost on the overnight snow, had the countryside encapsulated in it's Winter cocoon, and with a grey blanket of fog seeping through the valleys, and more draped haphazardly on some of the higher mountain tops, all added to the difficulties for those traveling from the different parts of the Peninsula to Inch Lake, Farland Bank, and Manorcunningham, from where we observed The Big Isle, and beyond, with it's many hundreds of White-fronted Geese, and lesser numbers of Brent. Out on the exposed mud flats were very large numbers of Duck, the most prominent were the Shell Duck due to the fact that they sparkled in the Winter Sunlight. Further out still, were countless assortments of Waders, too far away to make a definite identification possible. Near Blanket Nook in pasture land, and fields where potatoes had recently been dug, amazing flocks of Greylag Geese were noted. It was nice to see the many Whooper Swans utilizing the fields adjacent to Inch Lake, and at the new viewing platform there, we spent a pleasant hour watching the activities on the Lake, and during our tea break, met with Richard Smith of the Foyle Bird Watchers Club, also John and Terence Coyle, who were availing of the glorious conditions to record more video footage of the wildlife on show. The large flocks of Linnets are still to be seen feeding on what remains of the maize, and perhaps the numbers have increased over the past few weeks. After a rather dubious start this morning, a very enjoyable day was had.
Some of the birds seen at the Inch Lake area today by Richard Smith.
 
Sat. 6th. Dec 08. Today in glorious sunshine, accompanied by a gentle zephyr, that was reminiscent of what one would expect in Summer, rather than in the depth of Winter, we completed our second Winter count of the Lisfannon and Fahan Creek area of Lough Swilly on behalf of I-webs. As on the previous occasion a considerable effort was involved with special attention being paid to the shoreline of Inch Island, but we reaped the reward of recording large numbers and species of birds. The not so common Grey Phalarope, that breeds in Arctic regions, and winters off the western coasts of Africa, was our tick of the day. Involved in the count were the following members, Mary Mc Laughlin, Dermot and Danny Mc Laughlin, Jim Toland, and Paddy Mc Crossan.
  Mary Mc Laughlin, Dermot Mc Laughlin, and Jim Toland during todays I-webs count  
 
News Flash. A large flock of Wax Wings, approximately thirty birds, were witnessed today, the 10th. Dec. 08. by Sean and Joy Furey at Market Square, Buncrana. Club member Dermot Mc Laughlin was also present to observe these winter visitors. .....So be on the lookout for the most strikingly beautiful and tame birds that may be in your area over the next few months.
 

Sat. 13th. Dec. 08. We were in the favour of the Gods with another fine calm, sunny day, which for the most part was contrary to the foreboding predictions of the weather forecasters, this coupled with the multitude of birds and variety of species to be seen at the Inch Lake, created a memorable occasion, and one that was much appreciated by our well known wildlife visitors from the Belfast district, Mark Ruddock, Brendan Dunlop, Harry Greig, and Jim Wells, Jim was delighted at seeing a couple of Otters, his first sighting of this beautiful animal . We also had another good tick when that rare Winter visitor, the male Smew was sighted on the Lake. After the tea break Martin Moloney took our friends to Malin to show them the Chough, that are to be seen there in large flocks, these birds are rare in areas East of Inishowen. Meanwhile we concluded our outing with a visit to Blanket Nook, where again large numbers of birds were recorded...We have received more reports of the Waxwings that are to be seen in the Buncrana area. A special thanks to Jimmy Mc Cay for the photographs of the birds, one of which is posted below, also thanks to Linda Karunaratne, and George Mc Dermott for their report's.

Picture of Waxwing taken in Buncrana on Friday by Jimmy Mc Cay. Dermot Mc Laughlin with our visitors from the Belfast area today at Inch Lake.
 
Tuesday. 16th. Dec. 08. It has come to our notice, that yesterday at 4.30 pm. in defience of the signage erected at Inch Lake, stipulating the days and times shooting is allowed on this site, that a man was seen firing at the incoming geese, with one already downed in the vicinity of the new viewing platform at the Watery Road exit. Perhaps an increased surveillance might alleviate this problem.
 

Sat. 20th. Dec. 08. With the fast approaching Festive Season and all the domestic implications involved and at the behest of "She who must be obeyed", together with the terrible weather, that had the countryside cloaked in a pall of mist and rain, that made visibility nigh impossible, it was surprising that a few stalwarts managed to record four pair of Shoveler Duck, three Red-breasted Mergansers, and an estimated eight hundred plus Lapwing , and one Merlin, apart from the usual list of birds at Inch Lake. In our report of Tuesday last it stated that a goose may have been shot near the viewing platform at Inch Lake, but we have been reliably informed that the bird was suffering from some unspecified ailment, but one not inflicted by lead shot........... We would like to take this opportunity to wish a happy Christmas to all involved in our club, in whatever capacity, and to those who let us know how much they enjoy reading our web site, many of them far from home..........Also to remind anyone interested, that our annual Christmas outing is on next Saturday the 27th. with assembly at 10am. on the Inch Causeway Road. Don't forget to bring a hot beverage, snack, and warm clothing .

Sat. 27th. Dec. 08. Our Annual Christmas outing was blessed by the most wonderful days sunshine, with the overnight frost adding to the enchanting spectacle, and any cold that might have been expected was nullified by the warm sun, and the total absence of wind . After assembled at the Causeway road to Inch, the large turnout moved to the other side of the Lake, where we had the light behind us which greatly facilitated the viewing of the many hundreds of birds on the lake and adjacent fields. After lunch break we went to the Farland bank, and then to Blanket Nook, where we concluded the event. The total number of species recorded was sixty nine. Also recorded was a large count of Otter. Below are a few pictures of today's outing that was enjoyed by one and all.