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Inishowen Wildlife Club

Views and News

 

           
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2013 News
 
As a follow on to the Greylag Goose neck ringing programme, carried out by BirdWatch Ireland recently at Inch Lake, it is suggested that any sighting of these marked birds be reported by contacting the following email address. irishgreylags@gmail.com
 
To view the Butterfly Ireland web site Click http://www.butterflyireland.com
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Thursday 1st January 2015. We wish all of our members and friends a Happy New Year, and with the report of a Golden Eagle spotted in the Inishowen Area by a reliable source, that heralds our first news item for the new year.
 
Pictures from today's outing.
Sat. 3rd. Jan. 2015. For our first Saturday outing of the 2015 Season we were somewhat overwhelmed by the magnificence of this beautiful day, that had our great countryside emblazoned in the bright warm sunshine that belied the fact that it was January and not April or May. The occasion was further enhanced by the new members and visitors that shared our appreciation of the multicoloured lofty mountains in the Clonmany area and the placid cobalt blue waters of Tullagh Bay. It was here that we made our first stop where a sizable flight of Brent Geese flew in from the front strand to settle on a serene corner of the slow flowing river, to be joined by Great Black-backed Gulls and a solitary statuesque Grey Heron, while perched on the marram grass of the sand dunes and sandy beach Stonechats monitored our activities. .....Now it was on to the lay-by near the Glenevin Park, a place of outstanding beauty with it's thundering waterfall, winding walks, and gurgling stream..... From the lay-by a kestrel was added to our list as we scoured the majestic mountain peaks for other life forms. .........After partaking of our midday refreshments it was on to the western side of Tullagh Bay at Craigaleen, where we watched at close range, an adult Grey Seal basking on the nearby rocks, but then our attention was directed to a large flock of Sanderling as they twisted and turned before dropping down onto the pebbled shoreline, where they seamed to disappear among the stones. Further out many rafts of Eider Duck played hide and seek with us as they rode the Atlantic swell as did a number of Great Northern Divers..... It is said that time fly's when you are enjoying yourself, and that certainly was the case today. So with evening approaching our final stop was at Lenan Pier from where we recorded another Kestrel, and on the towering peaks of the Mamore Gap the sighting of a Golden Eagle was the perfect end to a perfect day.
 
Pictures from today's Outing.
Sat.10th. Jan. 2015. Our arrival on the pier at Buncrana to commence the winter count of the Birds of Lough Swilly for the month of January was greeted by an angry raging sea as it appeared out of the grayness of a cold and very stormy morning to send it's icy atomized contents high into the sky after it had thundered into the sea defenses on the back wall of the pier, normally a favorite site for great flocks of Sanderling, Dunlin. Ringed Plover, Gulls and Oystercatchers, but not today. At Lisfannon a similar situation was the case. ..........Then it was on to the Marina area of Fahan Creek, where a slight improvement was noticed in the number of birds recorded, with the Marina's calm water offering a welcomed shelter from the storm for Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Merganser, Little Grebe, a few Mallard and Gulls. On the shore line a number of Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Common, Black headed, and Herring Gull, were recorded. ......The usual stops along the route were checked before a very welcomed cup of hot tea and sandwich was enjoyed in the sheltered luxury of Boyd and Bridie Bryce's Canteen, after which in the calmer eastern shore of Inch Island the remainder of the survey was concluded, aided by the shelter and fast retreating tide. During the day, three Buzzards, a Peregrine Falcon, and a sparrowhawk were also recorded.
 
Saturday 17th. January 2015. No club outing today due to rather severe weather, and treacherous road conditions.
 
Sunday 18th. January 2015. A few members of our club undertook the task of carrying out the Swan Census in four locations in the peninsula, on behalf of Birdwatch Ireland. The sites at higher altitude presented difficult road conditions.
 
Pictures from today's outing in the Moville area.
Sat. 24th. January 2015. It was a frost encrusted morning that had our enthusiastic members set off in pursuit of a number of Barn Owls in the Greencastle area of Inishowen that had been reported to us by reliable sources. Our travels took us first to the Cooley region of Moville, from this magnificent vista, Buzzard and Kestrel were observed. After a considerable time spent here a short sojourn was had at the upper pier Moville, where the grey sullen waters of a high tide lapped quietly against the harbour wall that had some of it's gargantuan stone blocks removed by the very severe storm surges of past storms. Also noticed here was the absence of bird life on the waters of Lough Foyle. Next it was on to the Ballymacarthur and Belleeghan region of Greencastle to check on the afore mentioned Owl reports but our endeavors were restricted by the very dangerous road conditions at this higher altitude. Soon our enthusiasm was re-ignited by the sighting of a small flock of Crossbills as they flew overhead to a Pine Tree plantation and this followed by our eagerly awaited tea break, after which a visit was paid to the stunningly beautiful Inishowen head, when the sun decided to deploy it's warmth and cheerfulness and where we were joined by Michael Mc Laughlin and friend Helen. So ended a cold but enjoyable outing with the recording of a sizable number of species that included Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon..
 
Pictures from today's outing in the Carndonagh and Malin region.
Sat. 31st. Jan. 2015. An amazing day of birding commenced this morning at Glasha Carndonagh, and it's immediate hinterland with great flocks of Barnacle Geese, and lesser flocks of Brent. On arrival in the icy cold air bearing down from Arctic regions we were alerted by the exciting but pleasant sounds of the Barnacle before they were located grazing on the lush pastures of grass available in the area. As we continued to explore other adjacent areas large numbers flew low overhead with a great cacophony of honking. The count for the mornings survey was very satisfactory with numbers well in excess of six hundred, with the Brent exceeding two hundred. ...After lunch at the Malin Town Bridge bird hide, a Little Egret was watched as it foraged in the shallow water left by the retreating and now distance tide. ....Then it was off to Malin Head via the outstandingly beautiful Knockamany Bens where familys of Chough searched their perfect habitat for sustenance, while a Buzzard hovered steadily in the increasingly strong wind. By now the sun was displaying it's brilliance on the distant landscape of Malin Head, but the force of nature was compensating this beauty by introducing a gale of hurricane force that had us barely able to negotiate the short distance from the car to the sheltered gable of the Tower at Bamba's Crown. Here it became evident that the reason for the large numbers of Geese in the Malin Town and Glasha areas was to escape the turmoil here and to find shelter further inland. The only birds coping with the stormy conditions were the great rafts of Eider riding the mountainous waves of an angry sea, while in the more sheltered nooks Mallard, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Great-black Backed and Herring Gull found refuge, while on the pebbled beach of White Strand Bay large numbers of Turnstone and Rock Pipit frolicked. At Portmore Pier a Great Northern Diver was availing of the relative shelter on offer. Our enjoyable outing concluded with a brief stop at the old ruined church and renowned "We House of Malin"
 
Sat. 7th. Feb. 2015. Today's outing was rather extraordinary with a start a 6.30 am. that took us to the Malin Head region for the second Saturday in succession, but on this occasion it was to search for a night roost of the very rare and elusive bird the Hen Harrier, one such bird was recorded in the area last year. On arrival members occupied different positions that would facilitate them seeing the bird if present and waited as the dawn, not so much broke, more like seeped through the darkness to illuminate the way of the departing night. Our intended quest produced a negative result but this early morning foray revealed some of the animals that enjoy this time of day with Foxes, Hares, and Thrushes coming and going. As the light intensified flocks of Oystercatcher, Gull, and Pipits readied themselves for the approaching day, while the plaintive call of the Curlew echoed through the peace of the morning.. ......Part two of the outing continued after an intermission of one hour, from 9.00am to 10am. when duly fortified by a second light breakfast we set off to Clonmany where our day got a great boost when we hit the jackpot with the sighting of a magnificent Golden Eagle that occurred on a number of times as it drifted casualy in the sky over the high peaks of the Urris mountains, the first sighting was from Binion. ......Later at Craighaleen, Great Northern Diver, Eider, Cormorant, and Oystercatcher were recorded as were the flock of Ringed Plover that zigzagged across the shore line. Then at Rockstown Harbour, Brent Geese, more Great Northern Diver and Red-breasted Merganser plundered the waters of this sheltered inlet. With a great blanket of mist persisting to hang over the the Urris Hills, it was time for home after a long day, to sleep and perhaps to dream of our marathon day's birding.
 
Our very knowledgeable wildlife representative in Inch Island Boyd Bryce, has recently received, and as yet an unconfirmed report of a Woodpecker on the Island.
 
Pictures from today's Bird Count.
Sat. 14th Feb. 2015. Today we indulged ourselves with the glorious Spring weather bestowed by the gods on our penultimate count of the birds of Lough Swilly for the 2014 / 2015 season, and in such conditions we were rewarded by an exceptionally high result that included the rather rare Franklin's Gull, recorded amongst a large flock of the common Black-headed variety. Our outing was not just confined to recording sea birds and Waders, but to wallow in Natures miracle of revival as was evident by the remaining fragments of winter being banished by warming sunlight and lengthening day, and the many nooks and crannies carpeted with the smiling faces of snowdrops, and Crocus, while Winter Heliotrope, with it's almond scented flowers emerging through the large saucer-like leaves, and the fresh green foliage of the Lesser Celandine enhancing the sheltered ditches. As we finished the count our attention was drawn to a flock of the beautiful, and not so common Yellowhammer as they flitted from bushes to a grassy area where they seemed to be feeding on food from wooden troughs intended for sheep. Finally a visit to the Inch Lake in early evening saw a Great cloud of glittering Lapwing swarming high across the sky changing shape and direction with amazing ease. accompanied by a flock of the high flying Golden Plover.
 
Pictures from today's Outing.
Sat 21st. Feb. 2015. An eerie stillness filled the morning air in the cold dank atmosphere of the silent woodlands of Lisnagrath, with none of the usual staff of Red Squirrels attired in their well turnedout snug uniforms of rusty red, to greet the casual visitor. Were it not for the many small birds mostly Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, and Chaffinch, and a bedraggled looking Buzzard perched on a nearby tree the place would have been deserted, but not devoid of it's captivating beauty, with the bright glow of copper foliage from Beech Trees strategically placed against a background of perhaps fifty shades of grey. One can only imagine the great explosion of colour that will erupt in the coming weeks with the delicate colours of Spring, to have the many magnificent Trees clad in their finest attire. ..With a rather persistent shower of rain and hail spoiling our time here, we moved to that other local place of beauty, Killderry, where a Buzzard got involved in an argument with a few crows, and where a flock of Reed Bunting observed the world from the branches of a tall tree. ...Next it was off to the Cloney Road Culmore, where a warm burst of sunshine made our tea break a most enjoyable event, while a record was made of the many birds seen in the secluded inlet of the Foyle, that included Wigeon, Mallard, Redshank, Greenshank, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Black-headed, Common and Herring Gull. .... With another heavy shower approaching we set off for Blanket Nook, where more of the afore mentioned birds were noted with the addition of Goldeneye, Teal, and a Buzzard, that took our Raptor count for the day to four Buzzard, and three Sparrowhawk. .... Now with our joy of birding reaching it's conclusion in this winter stained day it was time to enjoy the comforts of home.
 
Saturday 28th. Feb. 2015. No club outing today due to other commitments. Normal activity will be resumed next Saturday.
 
Some pictures from today's Raptors Conference at Lough Neagh
Sat. 7th. Mar. 2015. Another very early start saw a sizable number of club members embark on the long journey to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre at the Oxford Island National Nature Reserve. Co Armagh for the second Annual Conference of the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group. The proceedings began with a welcoming address by Chairman Jim Wells, that was followed by the introduction of the first speaker Andrew Dixon, who delivered an interesting talk on Peregrines in his own country of Wales and then Russia. Next followed a talk on diet and foraging of the Common Buzzard by Richard Francksen. .... After our early breakfast a short tea/Coffee break was much appreciated, then it was back to the serious business of the day with a talk on how technologies can help address habitat loss and other threats to Birds of Prey across Africa by Rob Davis. ....Next Bob Elliot spoke on the illegal killing of Birds, and discussed some recent cases. Now it was time for a one hour break for lunch, during which we had a little while to enjoy a short meander around the area. But after our recess it was back to the final talks and discussions of the day beginning with the much awaited contribution by Allen Mee on reintroduction's in bird conservation: Successes and Failures. This was followed by the benefits of species records by forestry managers as told by John Griffin. ... The last but by no means least report was by Neil Mc Culloch on Raptors: Protection and Planning. The final curtain came down on the conference with NIRSG updates, and 2015-where to next? by Mark Ruddock and Eimear Rooney. we concluded our enjoyable day with a group photograph taken against a background of the calm waters of the Lough.
 
Pictures from today's Bird Count on the Swilly.
Sat. 14th. Mar. 2015. Spring made a strong statement of intent today with sky's of lapis lazuli blue, intensified by the welcomed sunshine that in turn encouraged those harbingers of spring the Primroses, with their gentle pale lemon flowers to smile to the day from their snug sheltered abode along roadside ditches accompanied sometimes by Lesser Celandine with its deep yellow flowers set against the background of its saucer-like foliage, only to be outdone by the opulence of the gold encrusted Coltsfoot, and at one particular beauty spot Periwinkle displayed it's wares as it thrust it's way through an obliging hedge. Our objective of recording the birds of the water and lakeside habitats on our specified areas of Lough Swilly was completed to our satisfaction, with the additional recording of four Buzzards two Sparrowhawks and a flock of Yellowhammer.... It was with great pleasure that we welcomed new member Kevin Johnson to our Club, Kevin all the way from Moneymore Co Derry, has a very comprehensive knowledge of wildlife, and as a botanist, so together with Anne Toland, Mary O'Mahoney, and our Dutch member Wil Buis, we are well catered for in this field.
 
Saturday 21st. March 2015. It was with deep regret and sadness that we received the news that our friend and former member of the Inishowen wildlife Club Danny Mc Laughlin had passed away yesterday at his home in Buncrana. Danny was a strong defender of the rights of all wildlife, with a special emphasis on birds. He entertained us on many occasions with stories of his world travels relayed with a keen sense of wit. As a mark of respect there will be no wildlife report today.
 
Pictures from today's Outing.
Sat. 28th. Mar. 2015. The month of March is not prepared to relinquish it's traditional grip on producing variable weather patterns, as today we felt the wrath of the very cold scourging Arctic air exacerbated by what's known locally as a lazy wind, that is one that would go through you rather than go around you. On the credit side we avoided any rain and enjoyed the very occasional shafts of sunlight that revealed the wonderful colourful landscape from Kilmacrennan, then by Lough Salt, to the village of Glen, and on to the tidy town of Carrickart. Our first stop of the morning at Kilmacrennan was to release a Female Buzzard found injured a few weeks ago by local man Kevin Moyne, that was then delivered to one of our Raptor Specialists Martin Moloney by the ISPCA inspector for the area. Martin with his great ability and knowledge of these birds nursed it back to prime condition again, as was obvious by it's ability to fly off with great ease, to perhaps search for it's mate. The number of Buzzard recorded in today's outing was four, and one Sparrowhawk.... On our way home on the shore line of the Big Isle, viewed from the main road at Manorcunningham many Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, and large numbers of smaller waders were observed as they pillaged the retreating tide, and as we were about to move on, a small flock of Reed Bunting was observed on the ground close at hand, but the approach of a heavy rain shower decided on our departure.
 
Pictures from today's outing to the Muff Glen
Easter Saturday. 4th. April 2015. The feast of Easter signifies the time of the resurrection of Christ, and today a great sense of mystery seemed to be enveloped in the early morning mist that shrouded the countryside, then lifted to reveal the true meaning of this special time with its renewal of life in it's many forms, evident as we wandered through the great cathedral-like aisles of the spectacular and wonderful Woodlands of Muff Glen, near Eglington County Derry, where the giant broadleaved trees cast their shadows on to the sun drenched walkways, and where the musical renditions of Blackbirds, Rooks, and the first uttering's from the newly arrived Chiffchaff, aided by choruses from Chaffinch, Siskin, Redpoll, and the diminative Goldcrest echoed through the stillness of the woodland. In the distance the thunder of water was heard crashing over rocky outcrops before settling gently in the slow flowing river far below, where Dippers hurriedly flash by, while the beautiful Grey Wagtail bobed up and down on rocks and gravel banks, and Red Squirrel and Grey looked down from their lofty tree top domains. ..........Spring has certainly made it's mark here with immense areas carpeted with the Opposite-leaved Saxifrage, with other places flaunting the wonderful flowers of Wood Anemone, Wood Sorrel, and as expected at this time of year swathes of Lesser Celandine in the company of that aristocrat of the wild flowers, namely the Primrose, with the Coltsfoot, Woodrush, and Alexanders also vying for attention. ... After our most pleasant and relaxing time spent here we set off to try and find any other venue that might be as rewarding, and that was the case with a stop near Coleraine, where Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Tree creeper, peregrine, were recorded, and while on our way home a Hen Harrier was added to our ticks of the day.
 
Thursday 9th. April. Our agent in the Moville region Mark Daly, has reported seeing two Swallows in the area in the early afternoon.
 
Pictures from today's Outing
Sat. 11th. April 2015. Just how fickle the weather can be was exemplified by the glorious conditions of the past week, which had the mercury stretching to the twenty degree mark and on a few occasions beyond in perfectly dry, calm, days and nights. But today it took a retrograde step with the temperature hovering around the four degree mark in a very cold piercing wind occasionally laced with aggressive hail showers. Such was the setting when our outing set off to the Culdaff, Drumnagasson, and Crocknanoneen areas. The presence in some locations of the much loved Primrose, the beautiful blue Dog Violet, finding sucker in sheltered light facing ditches, while clad in their garbs of gold, Coltsfoot, Dandelion, and the more robust Whin bushes glimmered in the occasional periods of sunshine helped to remind us that Spring was here. How delightful to see unending lines of nodding Daffodils planted by the local nature lovers in the verges of country roads and the main thoroughfares. Also on show were the many grape like clusters of the pale red flower heads of Flouring Currant and the dark red flowers of the beautiful but very invasive Salmonberry bushes. The Bird life today was keeping a low profile but our list contained large flock of Linnet, Shelduck, Little Egret, Razorbill, Tern, Great Black-back Gull, Herring Gull, and Black-headed Gull, also their close relatives Fulmar, and Gannet. The newly arrived Willow Warbler celebrated it's being here with a few tuneful notes, as did the very similar Chiffchaff. Also contributing a very raucous attempt at a musical rendition that failed to impress was by the colourful bird namely the Jay. A couple of buzzards were seen laziely floating on the distant cloudscape. Some time later our day's birding finished with the sighting of a few Swallows as they swooped low to survey suitable accommodation on human habitations.
 
Pictures from Today's Outing by the Moloney Boys.
Sat. 18th. April 2015. During the dark, dreary, cold, windswept days of winter one tries to visualize a day of warm sunshine, with a gentle zephyr wafting over a beautiful countryside and the miracle of Spring soon to blossom into the glories of Summer. Such dreams were realized as we set off to the base of our iconic mountain of Slieve Snaght, where on our trek we watched a number of Buzzards some of which were circling in the clear blue sky, then one was seen to plummet to the heather clad hillside in pursuit of some form of prey which it flew off with it securely clutched in it's talons. Here in this scenic location Kestrels and Merlin were also recorded. ..... Flying from rocky outcrops to grassy banks were the recently arrived Wheatear's attired in their pristine plumage with the less flamboyant Meadow Pipits happy in their home environment.. Now with the time moving on and a well deserving intake of nectar from our thermos flasks at Ballyargus, had us ready to enjoy the treasure trove containing jewels of creative greatness and beauty spread out before us with the diminutive emerald gem, the Green Hairstreak, fluttering from Whin blossom to Bilberry bush, with the occasional intrusion of the Orange-tip searching for the nearest Ladie's Smock, while Peacock and Tortoiseshell nectered on glistening Dandelions. Most of the display was accompanied with the strong tones of the wonderful voice from the Blackcap with the more gentle songs of the very many Willow Warblers, and Chifchaffs...... The final part of our day of riches was a walk to the top of Creghenan Hill and the recording of Redpoll, and the colourful member of the crow family the Jay, and the equally wonderful Bullfinch.
 
Pictures from today with Whin Blossom's, Eagle Watchers, and Dog Violets.
Sat. 25th. April 2015. An extravagance of avian riches was lavished on our outing today, which against the odds of an austere weather prediction that suggested that we would be the recipients of very cold wet and windy conditions, but good fortune was with us, as the sun shone brightly through the day, and a complete absence of rain. Yes, it was a little on the cool side but that was soon dispelled, when on our trip to the beautiful Clonmany area bedecked in the sparkling tones of spring colours, where Skylarks soared high into the sky to broadcast their joyful songs, and Linnets busily set about finishing their nest building in the golden Whin Bushes that in the morning sunshine had the air laden with their exotic fragrance, and the poor little Meadow Pipits were being scrutinized by Wheatear's from their vantage point. ..... But to the main event of the day, that was the many hours enjoyed watching those masters of all they survey, the Golden Eagles that floated dreamlike to and fro high in the blue sky above the majestic mountains of Clonmany and Urris, while far below their minions namely Buzzards, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, went about their regular daily tasks. .........In sunny nooks the beautiful dark blue of the Dog Violet, and the most stunning of all, the Primrose embellished roadsides. ......What a great pleasure being in the company of fellow club members and being blessed with all these treasures.
 
Some of today's pictures.
Sat. 2nd. May 2015 There is the old expression that says " You win some and you loose some." Well today the latter was most appropriate from mid morning, and throughout the remainder of the day, but only regards the weather, with the countryside dressed in a mournful shroud of grey, and temperatures hovering between four and five degrees, ably assisted by a penetrating easterly breeze, but these conditions were not sufficient to dampen our enjoyment of the outing to areas beyond Ballybofey in the southern end of our County to check on recent reports of the rare Hen Harrier in various places in the region and now with favorable information gleaned and perfect habitat recorded from our visit, a return safari is planed for these locations in the near future when the weather hopefully will be more in keeping with the month of May. Amongst the many other birds recorded today were Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Common Sandpiper, Mallard Duck Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Raven, Jackdaw, Magpie, Swallow, House Martin, and Lapwing.
 
A few of Martin's pictures from today.

Saturday 9th. May 2015. There was no club outing scheduled for today due to the the family commitments of some members. Then late this evening we received the following report and photo's from that stalwart Martin Moloney, accompanied by son Daniel and our new member Brendan Barr.

We welcomed a new young member to our ranks today. Brendan Barr a wildlife enthusiast from Buncrana. As we set off to our first destination the beautiful Isle of Doagh. Here we were greeted to a spring chorus of birdsong from goldfinch, willow warblers, greenfinches, linnets, and song thrushes to name a few. The rasping call of a sedge warbler was heard from the reed bed at the entrance to the isle while that amazing songster the skylark gave a singing performance that would have graced any concert hall, as it ascended high into the heavens. A female buzzard soared effortlessly over the estuary seeking it's breakfast in the grassy banks of the bay, while that colourful summer visitor the wheatear with it's distinctive white rump flitted from rock to rock as we neared Carrickabraghy on the shore of the isle, where a pair of ringed plover stood like two miniature sentries over their protective breeding area the nearby shingle beach. Our next stop was at Tullynabratilly where we were entertained by a pair of hunting kestrels hovering over the rocky crags. A pair of buzzards soared above the forest and jays chatted noisily on the way between the blocks of conifers as that beacon of summer the cuckoo uttered it's distinctive and welcoming call from the nearby willow trees. Next it was on to the Craighahorna Glen where the golden flowered gorse was a pleasant sight to behold. At our final destination Glentogher, we strolled through the deciduous woodland where those " Flowers of the Air " peacock, orange tip, small white, butterflies were seen, and chifchaf echoing call resounded through the trees. On our homeward journey we stopped off to check under a small bridge where we were delighted to find a dippers and grey wagtails nest.

 
Pictures from our visit to Inch Lake
Sat. 16th. May 2015. A day of many seasons with an input from winter, spring, and a brief appearance of summer. So it was on our trip to that great emporium of wildlife, Inch Lake and its surrounding areas. Good fortune shone on us when winter made it's entry as we were in our cars or in some other appropriate shelter. But otherwise in the company of spring and summer a very pleasant meander was enjoyed on parts of the Lakes walkway, where in warm sunshine Butterflies flutter over the many wildflowers and grasses. In some places great swathes of Wild Garlic peeped from their suitable habitat with their pristine flowers illuminating the verges, and from adjacent pastures the golden glow of Rape Seed glistened through the hedges of Hawthorn with many Buttercups and Marsh Marigold, also touched by the hand of Midas showing solidarity with them. Mother Nature in her benevolent mood had arranged a continuous display of beautiful Primroses, and Field Pansy's forming the perfect foil for the delicate blues of the Field Forget-me not, Speedwell, Dog Violet and the blue-purple of the flowering Vetch in the shelter of the high bank beside the Lake. As we trundled along, the high powered song of Blackcaps resonated through the warming air, with the more restrained tones of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, White throat, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, and Blackbird while the mesmerizing whirring sound of the Grasshopper Warbler added to the tranquility of the occasion. Sometime later a visit was made to the Farland Bank, where great hosts of Black-headed Gulls have evicted the intended tenants of the little islet in the Lake, namely the Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns, but they now have to make do with sites on the dangerous shoreline. Overhead great squadrons of Swifts, Swallows and Martins perform their aerobatics with great aplomb, surely an indicator that summer is waiting in the wings. At Blanket Nook a Peregrine Falcon and a Kestrel put on a show for our enjoyment with an aerial encounter with neither of the adversaries claiming victory. On the water, Great-crested Grebe, Mallard, Shell, and Tufted Duck floated on the ruffled surface. As the day progressed the Sun shone more brightly but by now home time and the end of a pleasant experience was beckoning.
 
Pictures from todays Outing.

Sat. 23rd May 2015. Today's venture in pursuit of the pleasures to be derived from the various forms of wildlife that we explore had a special emphasis on the Flora, while other members were elsewhere, checking on Avian activity, a report of their findings will be posted when to hand..... After the long cold spring, Mother Nature was now unashamedly putting on display her treasures of amazing opulence for the world to see. This was personified at the stop on the roadway of the Carrowmore Glen, where the sun penetrated the new leaf canopy of the overhanging old trees that cast their lattice of shadows but in turn intensified the bright rays of sunlight that filtered through to pinpoint on the roadsides and the deep gorge where the beautiful blue tones of Bugle, Dog Violet, Bluebell and Field Speedwell attracted our attention, while sparkling in contrast the yellow of Celandine, Opposite-leaved Saxifrage, and the tiny little Yellow Pimpernel. then the neutral whites of glorious Hawthorn Blossoms, the dainty flowers of Pignut, and the Wood Anemone completed a perfect picture, all accompanied in this wonderful setting by a chorus of birdsong. Next it was on to the edge of the forest clearing at Cambry where a very relaxed lunch break was enjoyed in the company of the many Butterflies, mostly Small White, Orange-tip, (male and female), Green-veined White, Peacock, and Speckled Wood, all availing of the midday sunshine as they flitted from flower to flower. Some time later a short visit was made to the Cooley Cross near Moville, after which a spectacularly beautiful outing in which we had the pleasure of the company of Dutch members Wil, Beb, and Anneke, concluded with a walk through the sylvan grandeur of the Glebe Glen, curtsey of it's owner, where more gems of floral beauty were noted and admired.

A synopsis of the trip to areas in County Derry by members Martin, Daniel, and Brendan recorded the following species of birdlife in some of the locations visited. These included Crossbill, Sedge Warbler, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Jay, Siskin, and a number of Cuckoo. Their outing in perfect weather finished with a visit to the Muff Glen, where Grey Squirrel, Treecreeper, Grey Wagtail, and again Jay, Chiffchaff, and Willow Warbler were added to their list.

 
Corncrakes Return . .
It's the time of the year again when the Corncrakes have returned to Ireland from their wintering grounds in southeastern Africa and the NPWS Corncrake Conservation Project gets up and running again. The project will census all the calling male Corncrakes in the known hotspots in Donegal and West Connaught and offer grants to farmers for late cutting and Corncrake-friendly mowing via the Corncrake Grant Scheme.

This year, the fieldwork in Co. Donegal will be carried out by BirdWatch Ireland. Daniel Moloney is asking anyone who hears a Corncrake in the county to contact him on 085-7398411 or email him at dmoloney@birdwatchireland.ie as soon as possible as early detection of their breeding sites is vitally important. The male Corncrake has a very distinctive loud "Krek Krek" call which can be heard during the day but usually becomes continuous around dusk and will continue throughout the night until dawn. Reports can also be submitted to our web site by the facility on top of this page.
Click here to learn more about the Corncrake Conservation project and the special grant scheme for farmers
 
Pictures from today's outing to the Ballyliffin Area.
Sat. 30th. May 2015. Another enjoyable Saturday, this time spent in the beach area of the tidy village of Ballyliffin, that nestles in the shadows of Crockaughrim and Binnion Mountains, and where the mighty Atlantic Ocean would normally explode it's great crashing waves on to the shore of golden sands, but today it was in a still and silent mood. On its mercury like surface Great Northern Divers floated serenely while Redshank, Ringed Plover, and Oystercatcher scurried between the rocks and weed, and keeping watch from their perches on the jagged rocks, Herring and Great-backed Gulls patiently awaited the change of the tide. In the mostly blue sky, a pair of Ravens and a number of Chough drifted towards the adjacent farmland to check what snacks might be available there. House Martins and Swallows skimmed with great agility over the water to collect the flies unfortunate enough to be out and about. .......A considerable time was spent botonazing in the area, and that was justly rewarded when our doyen of things botanical, Anne recognanised the not so common plant Sweet Cecilia, with it's delicate soft white umbel and gentle fragrance. The other great experience of our outing was the privilege of listening to the call of the Corncrake, evocative of times gone by when this iconic sound was commonplace. ....Now with some members commited to other engagements later in the evening a halt was reluctantly called on proceedings.
 
The Lushness of Summer at Bogay Today.
Sat. 6th. June 2015. With the weather forecast predicted for today the name "Noah" he of the heavy rain and Ark Fame" sprung to mind, added to for good measure by the promise of strong blustery winds, but none of these threats prevented us from journeying to the beautiful bucolic landscape of Bogay, where Nature had the many roadsides bedecked with the amazingly beautiful crochet-like flower heads of the Cow Parsley, waving in the wind as if to bestow a welcome to all that pass this way. In this glorious valley, and near the Bogay House estate, drifts of Herb Robert, and it's relation Wood Avens, Creeping Buttercup, Bugle, Field Forget-me-not, Red Campion, and Yellow Bartsia struggled through the very lush vegetation to show their presence. From the nearby woodland the songs of Blackbirds, Robin and Wren drifted through the air, while a Buzzard avoided any fuss by staying perched on a distant tree, with many Pigeon darting hastily from one habitat to another. After our enjoyable sojourn here we set off to the old slate quarry at Glentown near St. Johnston, where we enjoyed a close encounter with a number of Hares that showed scant regard for our presence. In this area Anne came to the rescue as is usual with the identification of many wild flowers including Alexanders, Bulbous Buttercup, Cats-ear, the dominative Yellow Pimpernel, the delicate blue of Heath Speedwell, the purple and White variety of Rockets, the wonderful blue/purple flowers of the Dusky Cranesbill, all this opulence accompanied by the gentle songs of Bullfinch and Yellowhammer....... What a lovely way to end our outing.
 
Some of the pictures from today's outing to Sheskinmore.
Sat. 13th. June 2015. On arrival after a two hour drive from Inishowen to the extensive Nature Reserve of Sheskinmore situated a few miles from the town of Ardara, where we joined the large group of fellow Lepidopterists from many parts of the county and beyond. After a short time spent renewing our acquaintances with folks from previous outings, and meeting new ones, we assembled for a group photograph, after which we retired to the beautiful restored Parks and Wildlife Service Headquarters for the area, where Emer Mc Gee the local Wildlife Officer welcomed us all to the Reserve and introduced our leader for today, namely Bob Aldwell, Master of all those beautiful creatures of nature that flutters here, and ably assisted by Ethna Diver. Bob gave a brief and interesting account of the Butterfly Species of Donegal, after which we set off on a trail through this magnificent habitat, not just for the Butterflies but also to admire and record the multitude of Wildflowers that cast their spell of beauty and interest. As the morning morphed from a grey overcast sky, with a cool breeze blowing from a northly direction to a sunny warm and pleasant afternoon that had our dreams of seeing the wonderful Marsh Fritillary, Small Blue and the Dingy Skipper realized. The total number of Butterfly species recorded was thirteen. .....After our long trek to the old ruined building known locally as the Mass House, a break was had with tea and other niceties consumed to the iconic call of the Cuckoo. ... Now with our energy intake restored to normal, a casual return dander was undertaken to the base camp we left earlier in the morning.... The number of Wildflowers recorded by Anne was in excess of forty five, too many for inclusion in this report..... Our outing to Sheskinmore ended with a farewell to our friends, who like ourselves will await Bob's return as faithfully as the cuckoo will next year.
 
Pictures from visit to Rathlin Island.

Sat. 20th June 2015. The definition of a Holiday Island conjures up a mental picture of a place of beauty set in a placid sea of soft cobalt blue, with a correspondingly beautiful sky and lush verdant vegetation splashed with the many colours of wildflowers from natures pallet drenched in bright warm sunshine, and where there is an atmosphere of peace and tranquility exuding throughout the area. Well that was what we found on the magical Island of Rathlin, situated five miles off the vibrant town of Ballycastle on the north Antrim coast. ...The main objective of the club's outing today was to visit the extraordinary R.S.P.B. Bird Sanctuary at the northern end of the Island, which we reached by the small bus, boarded after disembarking from the Express ferry boat. Our Bus driver was most entertaining with a subtle sense of humor, and stories laced with facts and fables of local history. On arrival at the newly renovated reception building at the Northern Lighthouse visitors are amazed by the extraordinary large number of Birds, mostly Guillemot, Razorbill, those great favorites the Puffins, and the beautiful Kittywake to name just a few, with numbers that can only be estimated at many thousands, while Great-back Gull, and Raven, plundered nests for eggs and young birds. Out on the horizon Gannets patrolled, far remove from the mighty monoliths of basalt that reach hundreds of feet from the deep ocean floor to offer a secure nesting place for these great adventurers that spend most of their lives roaming the wide oceans...The presence of the rare Spring Squill and the carpets of Common Spotted Orchid, and Ragged Robin were among the many species of wildflowers recorded by Anne and Jim, who also added Common Blue and a number of unidentified White Butterflies. Back on the southern side of the Island five Buzzard were noted while a number of seals basked in the afternoon sun. but another noteworthy find was a Skuas nest discovered some time before we boarded the ferry for the return trip to the mainland, and home.

 
Today's outing to Isle of Doagh and Ballyliffin
Sat. 27th. June 2015. The object of today's venture was to seek those creatures of great beauty, colour and fragility, the wonderful Butterflies, what a stroke of creative genius from a masters hand from a heavenly source, so you can understand our enthusiasm and excitement when on arrival at Craigawannie on the beautiful Isle of Doagh where at the Dune System there, renowned as a special habitat for such jewels, but what we discovered was a complete dearth of Butterflies with the exception of two Small Heaths that were recorded. There was a light shower shortly before we arrived, after which the sun shown brightly to push the temperature to twenty degrees, with a pleasant breeze for the remainder of the outing, surely the perfect ingredients to aid us in our quest, but similar experiences have been reported elsewhere in the country where the late spring is deemed to be responsible for the changes in other flora and fauna species, especially the Butterflies. Undaunted by this start we checked a site off the Isle Road where last year we discovered a large area of Devil's-bit Scabious, the feeding plant of the very rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, but today it also produced a negative result, then from a distance the voice of some club member with the overtones of Archimedes, called out " Eureka! " No, the bath water wasn't overflowing, it was just the sighting of a Common Blue Butterfly and a few more Small Heaths, and after the earlier disappointments of the morning it seemed appropriate to celebrate. On the other side of the road large carpets of Ragged Robin and Yellow flag Irises' brightened our outlook as we set off for the beach at Ballyliffin. There in a little narrow valley where a sparkling waterfall splashes it short journey to the beach below, and in this diminutive treasure trove a great collection of botanic gems were recorded, as were a few Speckled Wood Butterflies. After lunch, a visit was made to a number of favorite locations in the Ardagh area where more Speckled Wood and Green-veined White Butterflies were noted. But later with a few spots of rain splashing on the car windows it was time for home after the pleasure of a warm sunny day in the great outdoors.
 
Pictures from today's outing.
Sat. 4th. July 2015. In Football parlance the expression "A Game of Two Halves" was in some respects applicable to our outing today. The first half was a visit to the Fullerton Dam in the Illies, an area set between Carndonagh and Buncrana, and where a White Tailed Eagle was recently reported. A considerable amount of time was spent here in not quite ideal conditions, due to recurring showers of light rain and the accompanying grey clouds scurrying speedily across the sky that were occasional followed by shafts of sunlight from time to time moving equally quickly over the Dam and surrounding hills propelled by a blustery breeze, but neither of these conditions were capable of enticing the great Eagle to display it's presence. The second half was commenced with a tea break after which we set off for the Sand Dune System at Lagg beyond Malin Town, to see if we could improve on last saturday's dismal performance on the Isle of Doagh. Fortunately on our way there the sun was making amends for it's absence in the morning, and with the temperature at times reaching to near the peaks of the past week had the Butterflies busily nectaring on the many food plants available. The butterflies recorded in reasonable numbers were Ringlet, Common Blue, Dark green Fritillary, Speckled Wood, and Meadow Brown The number of Birds seen and heard included Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk, Skylark, and Wheatear. But the crowning glory was to watch a golden Eagle in confrontation with a flock of it's subordinates before drifting higher and higher to disappear into infinity, while later a similar argument was watched when a Buzzard and a few crows assisted by a pair of Kestrels the outcome of which was unknown. Our final stop was at a site in Malin Head where Long-eared Owls are known to nest, but with the full time whistle about to be blown, a further survey of the area will be undertaken at a later date.
 
Pictures from today.
Sat. 11th. July 2015. With the trip planed for our outing today being a considerable distance from Inishowen a decision was made to cancel it due to a forecast of heavy and continues rain from midday onwards, it was then decided that somewhere nearer home might be a more sensible option. So a visit to the old reliable Inch Lake was the outcome, where under rather leaden skies and a freshening breeze we checked from the viewing platform what was to be seen on the lake waters, that had a small family of Whooper Swans and a sizable flock of Canada Geese, a few Black Swans, many Mallard and Tufted Duck among others floating on its rippled surface. Overhead a large Female Buzzard soared leisurely, to then drop into one of the adjacent pastures where a young Grey Heron was having a little siesta. After this, we set off along the lush vegetation lined pathway in the direction of the Farland Bank. On our way there we were presented with a cornucopia of delights to satisfy anyone's botanic appetite. Flitting through the densely leaved trees along the way, many of those marvelous little feathered creatures such as the Sedge and Willow Warblers, families of Blackcaps, Goldfinch, and on a post near the little stream on our left, a Grey Wagtail maintained it's balance by using the quick flicking of it's tail. Darting overhead great squadrons of the amazing Swifts accompanied by Swallows and Martins seemed to etch their actions against the now darkening clouds, that signaled the approaching rain, but not before at the Farland Bank a Sparrowhawk was escorted over the water to the security of a nearby wooded area by a party of angry Arctic and Sandwich Terns. There was one creature conspicuous by it absence today in what could be called a Butterfly Heaven, but the only Butterflies we could record was a couple of Ringlet. Overall we enjoyed our rain free visit and were well on our way home before the rain started to impact against the cars windscreens.
 
Sunday 18th. July 20 15. There was no Saturday report due to the holiday season impacting on the numerical strength of our membership, but we were fortunate to have two survivors in the form of Jim and Anne Toland, who forwarded the following report on their visit to the Ards Forest today.
Despite the torrential rain forecast for the weekend, two club members took advantage of the Sunday sunshine to visit Ards Forest Park to search for butterflies that have eluded us for most of this year. And they were not disappointed. Although there were few species detected, some of those that were, were there in numbers. About 150 Common Blues and a like number of Ringlets were counted in the space of two hours. Over 100 Dark Green Fritillaries were spotted during the same period as well as 50 Small Heaths, 7 Meadow Browns and 2 Speckled Woods. No doubt the reason for this bounty was the colourful display of wildflowers. Against a backdrop of Lady's Bedstraw, Wild Thyme, Harebells, Eyebright and Self-Heal, Orchids held center-stage. Common Spotted, Heath Spotted, Pyramidal, Northern Marsh and Twayblades were at their peak, while The Fragrant Orchid was making it debut this year. Also vying for attention were Thyme Broomrape and on a sunny sandy incline a patch of White Wild Thyme. In all, 55 different species of wildflower were detected. As the cloud cover moved in we were glad that we had taken this opportunity to visit the park. Well done to Coillte for continuing to maintain and improve this wildlife amenity
 
Some of today's pictures Botanising on the shore walk Buncrana.
Sat. 25th. July 2015. A wonderful day of botanising commenced with members assembling at the old house known locally in Buncrana as the Stone Jug, located where the beautiful Crana River enters the blue waters of Lough Swilly, glistening in today's bright morning light. When all the expected members arrived we set off under the guidance of our new font of botanical knowledge, Martin Moloney, ably assisted by Anne Toland. .......Our wanderings took us to Ned's Point, and from there past Fr. Hegerty's Rock, and on to within sight of the stunning vista of Stragill Beach nestling in a sheltered inlet of the Lake.......... Among the great many species of Flora identified on this walk Martin highlighted his choice of fourteen favourites that included the rather uncommon and beautiful Orange Hawkweed, followed by the statuesque stance of the Wood Sage basking in the warm sunlight and well selected shelter. Next the uniquely coloured and structured Hedge Parsley... Because of it's miniature flowers the Scarlet Pimpernel, with it's scarlet petals, its perfect centre of purple set off with a tiny dot of yellow is worth a closer look. Availing of it's proximity to the salt saturated sea spray in stormy conditions the stands of Sea Plantain stood in orderly lines. Then the cerise flowers of the clumps of Woundwort sought our attention, as did the flowers of Yellow Rattle, adding to the confusion caused by the proximity of the similar coloured Lesser Yellow Trefoil, and it's look-alike Meadow Vetchling. ....The tiny lipped flower of Eye Bright and the tall mature forms of Self Heal brought a sense of normality to the occasions. ......The other item of exceptional beauty missing from the countryside this summer was the Butterfly, but today one Red Admiral, one Tortoiseshell, one Meadow Brown and one Common Blue were recorded fluttering along the hedgerow, while reasonable numbers of Ringlet nectered on the many varieties of grasses at their full majesty on this most pleasant dander enjoyed in an exceptionally sunny Day.
 
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Pictures from the Roe Valley Park
Sat. 1st. Aug. 2015. A wonderful day was enjoyed at the Roe Valley Country Park on the outskirts of Limavady, Co Derry, where after the continuous rain and cold of yesterday, good fortune favored the brave with just a few early showers that gradually blended into a day of warm sunshine that had the elusive Butterflies of this year flutter over the extravagance of beautiful wild flowers and spectacular grasses. Most prominent of these amazing creations were the Meadow Brown and the Green-veined White. With Martin elsewhere today, Anne was back in her prominent position as the doyen of the world of Flora. Among the list of species compiled by her were Marsh and Hedge Woundwort, great drifts of Purple Loosestrife, Herb Robert and Herb Bennet. The Common Valerian attired in it's flat cap of pale pink. In well sheltered nooks giant stalks of Fox Glove looked down on us mere mortals as we admired the stunning displays of Angelica, Hemp Agrimony, Self Heal and the beautiful but unfortunately invasive Himalayan Balsam, but also noted was the rare Meadow Cranes bill. In the majestic towering trees that adorn most of the riverside walk Jays were seen before disappearing into the dense foliage, also spotted here were Bullfinch and Willow Warbler, while in the blue afternoon sky Buzzard drifted lazily. With the great river in full spate Dippers and Gray Wagtails, had difficulty finding suitable rocks to have a rest after fighting the raging river as it noisily raced to the awaiting arms of the sea a few miles further north. Now after being suitably fortified by our late lunch it was home time again.
 
Pictures from today's fun day at Ards forest Park.
Sat. 8th. Aug. 2015. On our way to a most eagerly awaited visit to the stunningly beautiful woodland park at the Ards Forest just west of the town of Creeslough and in the shadow of the mighty Muckish Mountain our travels revealed the hand of that great alchemist Autumn, as was evident in it's transformation of the massive acreages of Wheat and Barley to glistening fields of gold. But the lush bounty of leaves on the trees and hedges are offering a firm if futile resistance to the inevitable.... On arrival at our destination we set off on the impressive boardwalk, where natures bounty of wild flowers were flaunting their colours and beauty to our delight. With amazing carpets of blue Harebell forming a perfect colour combination with the yellow of Ladies' Bedstraw and then overlaid with a liberal sprinkling of Orchids that included Pyramidle, the wonderfully Scented, the Northern Marsh, and Twayblades. Further on and close to the sandy beach was a little path lined on both sides with a continuous lines of shining Eyebright that brought us to another treasure trove of natures riches. Here the Purple Wild Thyme and its rarer sibling the White Wild Thyme caused a ripple of excitement, as did the Stone Bramble, with it's delicate pale pink flower peeping from it's sheltered abode, the Wood Sage, Woodruff, Wood Rush, and Creeping Jenny. Again today the Butterflies were conspicuous by their absence with the exception of a few Meadow Brown, and fewer Common Blue. Our final walk was through the great hallway of towering giant trees of the dense forest that offered a different vista at every turn. Back at the cars and a cup of tea, Anne had the pleasant duty of making a presentation of a Wildflower Book on behalf of the Club to Martin on his further studies in the science of plant life. Our outing concluded with a brief visit and dander in the vicinity of the adjacent Ards Priory.
 
Sunday 9th. August 2015. We are delighted to report that the Little Egrets are back in Trawbreaga Bay at their usual haunts near Malin Town.
 
Today's club Outing to Isle of Doagh and Lagg.
Sat. 15th. August 2015. A celebration of beauty and fragility was enjoyed by the clubs outing to Craigawannie on the Isle of Doagh, where for the first time this summer great hosts of Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, and Small Copper Butterflies made their entrance as the light rain faded into oblivion and the warming rays of the morning sun set the stage for these amazing creatures to start their stunning performance, that had them perform ballet like maneuvers over and on the extensive clumps of the beautiful Harebell, Wild Thyme, the gold of Ladies Bedstraw, Ragwort, Sow Thistle, and the blue-purple flower of the Marsh Thistle, the great spread of Red Bartsia, and the many varieties of tall Grasses...... After a deserved break we set off to the wonderful little valley at the Ballyliffin Beach, where more Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue and Meadow Brown were noted. This little treasure trove of flora didn't disappoint with the beautiful flower heads of Common Valerian, Hemp Agrimony, Self-heal, Herb Robert, and Water Mint most prominent. On arrival at the picnic tables at the top of this "Stairway to Heaven" we sat for a time and enjoyed the marvelous seascape and the distant hills of Malin and beyond, all in the convivial company of our companions..... Our next and final stop for the outing was at the Sand Dunes System at Lagg, Malin. Here again we were presented with another great show of Flora that had the rare form of White Harebell, and those fluttering masterpieces of great splendor the Butterflies.
 
Sat. 22nd. Aug. 2015. In the absence of a number of members today four of us, Martin and Daniel, Anne and myself headed off to Malin Head. On the way we noted the presence of two Egrets at Malin Town. Our first stop at Lagg Church revealed the presence of a flock of more than fifty Choughs feeding on the sand dunes and a flock of Twites passing in the distance. A Kestrel hovered on the hillside. A few Meadow Browns took advantage of the intermittent sunshine. Little else was noted until we arrived at Port Caman where we spent an enjoyable interlude watching a Peregrine family fly along the hillside and landing on the rocky outcrop that sweeps down to the pebble beech. Then in swift succession they moved away into the distance. A Buzzard moved overhead as we took a break for lunch. The appearance of a Stonechat was followed by a small flock of the rarer Whinchat as they moved among the bracken and brambles. A Common Blue and Small Tortoiseshell lingered in the sunshine. We completed our outing with a trip through the heights of Ballagh, where our botanists pointed out the abundance of Red Bartia as well as Purple Loosestrife, Tansey, Red Campion, Angelica, Hogweed and the array of Marsh, Spear and Creeping Thistles. In the afternoon our Club made its contribution to Heritage Week when Anne led an appreicative audience on a Floral Walk at Gortnamullen where in the space of ninety minutes more than sixty species were noted, proving that Summer is not quite over yet.
 
Pictures from the Last Summer Outing for 2015.
Sat. 29th Aug. 2015. This morning a fragile summer put on a brave face with it's demise just a few days off, but greeted our outing with intermitting sunshine and pleasant temperatures as we stopped at Malin Town where four Little Egrets were recorded happily resting after their earlier breakfast. Next it was off to Culdaff, but before reaching our destination our attention was diverted to an area past Templemoyle where a great colourful expanse of Purple Loosestrife interspersed with Rosebay Willowherb stretched over many acres that had the complementary colours of Meadow Sweet, clumps of Bell Heather, sparsely displayed Devils-bit Scabious, the glistening gold of Cat's-ear, Tormentil, and the very occasional Yellow Loosestrife. In the distance Buzzards graced the blue sky while others were content to perch on the branches of Fir Trees. Close by a considerable number of Swallows, House and Sand Martins skimmed gracefully high and low feeding on the many flies and insects active on the expanse of mooreland. On arrival at Dunmore Head more floral delights were presented for our admiration, with great clumps of Geranium, and Montbreta holding prominence, with opposition from Water Mint in it's wonderful full Flower, an assortment of Thistles and the unassuming Water Cress. ...The unexpected gift of the day was to watch the display of Basking Sharks appearing off the headland... Also in this area as we walked back to our cars a swarm of distraught and no doubt angry Bumble Bees surveyed the remains of their nest that had a little earlier been demolished by a honey hungry Badger. ...Our rain free day in communion with nature concluded with an enjoyable time spent meandering through the peaceful areas of Cambry and Carrowblagh, where a number of the wonderful Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillars were noted, a first sighting for some members.
 
Some of the pictures from our day on the Swilly Bird Count.
Sat. 5th. Sept. 2015. It's that time of year again with the commencement of the I-WeBS. Winter Bird Count on Lough Swilly, which today saw our team of counters set off from Buncrana Pier at 9.30am in a piercing Arctic wind and grey skies delivering a bone shaking shock to the system, with our champion Brian all the way from Sion Mills in situ well before that time.... These were the conditions that prevailed until the afternoon, when the sun begrudgingly made it's appearance, this and the complete absence of rain contributed to the completion of a noteworthy account of the number of birds and species recorded. ...With the added advantage of having Anne the lady of things botanical and her cohort Martin, our interest in this field was advanced with the recording of plants such as Sea Blight, Yellow Rattle, Knot Grass, great stretches of Sea Aster, Sea Plantain, then the colourful and unusual Longstock Cranes-bill. These being just the tip of the iceberg. A very small number of Butterflies were recorded, mostly unidentified whites and Tortoiseshell, all busily engaged in the pursuit of sustenance in the afternoon sunshine, but with their existence for this year, one of the worst for these beautiful creations fast approaching it's end... As is usual after completion of our count a visit was made to the Inch Lake area near Mc Graths where the extensive marsh meadow was showing a dazzling display of wild flowers that is worth a visit.
 
Today in the Inch Lake and Blanket Nook Area.
Sat. 12th. Sept. 2015. After a week that saw summer borrow the last seven glorious, warm, sunny days from the season of autumn, but today it switched back to it's usual antics. ...So it was as we set off to the shores of Lough Swilly for an other Saturday to see what the wind and rain of last night might have blown in from distant climes to enjoy the luxury of our relatively milder winters. .......The first indication of such a migratory trait was the large skein of Greylag Geese that flew in from a northerly direction, to then whiffle from a great height to the welcoming embrace of the Blanket Nook area where they engaged in a welcomed graze in the lush fields of grass. Later at the Farland Bank a number of Black-tailed Godwit were observed as they fed unperturbed by our proximity on the sumptuous menu available in the soft mud, exposed by the retreating tide. ...Also in this region a large charm of Goldfinch glistened in the afternoon sunshine, while high in the sky over the Inch Lake a large cloud of Golden Plover twisted and turned, while at a lower altitude a flock of Lapwing glittered as they showed their flying prowess. ....Elsewhere many Pipit, Chaffinch, and Reed Bunting were using the hedges surrounding the rust tainted harvest fields of autumn, to launch their constant forays to the stubble to collect the seeds and insects discarded by the farm machinery. The number of resident Canada Geese and feral Greylag Geese at the Lake has increased considerably over the past few years. The one feature and disappointment of today's outing was the absence of our favorite's the Raptors, but no doubt they will have their day soon.
 
Our trip to the Eastern Boundaries of our Inishowen Domain.
Sat. 19th. Sept. 2015. Our Saturday outing had bestowed on it the gentle stillness of a beautiful Autumn day as we journeyed to the eastern boundaries of our Inishowen Domain, with the countryside resplendent in the the early morning sunshine that showed some evidence of the tints of the oncoming season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that will be imparting its inevitable decay, but like that great mythical bird the Phoenix, life next spring will rise again from the ashes of this Autumn.... Our adventure commenced at Carndonagh, up through Glentogher, over the dizzy scenic heights of Creehennan then a left turn was taken that took us through Mullinroe, and Ballyargus areas, where well maintained residences and miles of roadside hedges and ditches still bedecked with many varieties of wild flowers with Montbretia and Meadowsweet supreme over many other species such as Knapweed, Hawkbit, Nipplewort, Ragwort, and at some places all set off against a background of Purple Heather. A short time later a break was enjoyed at the little Pier below the post office at Redcastle, this was followed by a walk through the old headstones in the grounds of the beautiful ruins of a former Church of Ireland. Our next stop was to take a dander down the steep road to the shore of Lough Foyle at Clar, here the few survivors of what was called summer, fluttered from plant to plant, the small number encountered included Large White, Tortoiseshell, Peacock and what may have been a Speckled Wood. A brief stop was made at Moville Pier where a small number of Turnstone's were viewed at very close range, while those indicators of the approach of winter namely the Brent Geese flew past and then set down at the mouth of the Bredagh River. ...Throughout our travels large numbers of Swallows and Martins assembled on telegraph wires and fences as they prepare for their immanent departure to the southern hemisphere, our skies will be lonelier without them. The obvious absence today was the number of birds and species on the water and land, but in the glorious conditions it seemed more important to absorb the warmth and beauty of our countryside and hope for more birds on next outing.
 
Saturday's Outing to Lisnagrath, Culmore and Inch Lake.
Sat 26th. Sept. 2015. In the gentle stillness of an Autumn morning in that oasis of peace and beauty, Lisnagrath Wood near the Village of Muff, where the only sounds to be heard was the occasional mewing from a Buzzard floating serenely high above the dense foliage canopy of the mighty giants of Beech, Chestnut, Oak, and the marvelous Scotch Fir that have not as yet been stained by the frosty hand of the approaching winter, that will be assisted by the withering arctic winds. ....The residents of this fairyland, such as the Red Squirrels that boldly make their entrances and exits, with Great Tits and Coal Tits flitted from branch to branch looking for a handout from benevolent visitors to their domain. As we were leaving this paradise the air crackled to the raucous alarm call of a tuneless Jay. ....On arrival at the Cloney Road Culmore, a large and varied number of birds were observed on the shore line of Lough Foyle, vigorously feeding on the feast revealed by the ebbing tide, these included Brent Geese, Widgeon, Mallard, and Teal Duck, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, and the many varieties of Gull.. .........Later at Drumhaggart near Birdstown, while consuming our lunch and in the now beautiful warm sunshine the spell we were under of not recording any Raptors on recent outings was broken when seven Buzzards were noted, the number was later increased on our way home to nine, This day of the Raptors was added to with the sighting of a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. also here Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, and Stonechat, were observed. One of our last stops was to have a look from the viewing platform at Inch Lake that revealed what looked like a festival of Birds that had assembled in great numbers and species on one of the grass covered islets out in the Lake. Here Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Pochard, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Redshank, Greenshank, and Godwit took to the air on a few ocassions, only to return to their allotted positions. The final icing on the cake was to see Peacock, Green-veined White and Speckled Wood Butterflies fluttering over the nectar filled wild flowers. A wonderful way to sign off from our Saturday outing.
 
Pictures from today at Malin, Culdaff, Kinnagoe Bay and Inishowen Head.
Sat. 3rd. Oct. 2015. Another blissful day of autumnal delights commenced with our first stop at Malin Town Bridge to admire the beauty of Trawbreaga Bay as the silent flow of the mirror-like waters of the advancing tide crept higher and higher that had the effect of driving the four Little Egrets now resident here for the winter to seek refuge on the grass covered islets near the Parochial Hall. Close by another pleasant surprise was the sighting of that jewel of calm rivers and estuaries namely the Kingfisher as it perched on a fence post to await the appearance of tasty little fish to pass within range. Another gem found in this region was of the floral variety when the beautiful Evening Primrose was spotted not far from where the Egrets were recorded. Next it was on to equally still waters of the Culdaff River where another treat was presented to us, this time our prize was the clear view of the most reclusive of birds, the Water Rail, that was unperturbed by our presence as it foraged on a little stretch of a brown sandy beach just on the other side of the river. ......Among the other birds recorded at Malin and the River were Mallard, Lapwing, Curlew, Common, Great Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gull..... At Dunmore Head a check was had on the rare Scotch Lovage plant by our bounty of knowledgeable Botanists, while the other mere mortals enjoyed the opulent floral displays of the amazing Montbretia, Knapweed, Bush vetch, Marsh and Creeping Thistle, Meadowsweet and an overall sprinkling of Devil's Bit Scabious and the pristine white flowers of Bindweed. Later, on our way to Tramone Beach we had a Buzzard that came flying down the road kamikaze style and just managed to avoid a collision with our car. At Tramone, further evidence was to be seen of the Scotch Lovage, while close to a rocky outcrop, a small flock of Brent Geese floated gently on the great Ocean. Then at the snug surroundings of Kinnagoe Bay a pod of Dolphins was watched as they splashed their course in a westerly direction, while some distance from the shore a Manx Shearwater was recorded. Now with evening approaching we set off to our final destination of Inishowen Head where we met with our friend Mark Daly and Trish Murphy who run their club aptly named The Wild Bunch, they had been showing a group of children the wonders of wildlife to be found here.... With an ever increasing population of very hungry midges sampling the menu that we were providing it was decided to call a halt to another great summer like day.
 
Wednesday 7th. October 2015. The number of Little Egrets at Trawbreaga Bay has reached five, they were seen preening their pristine white plumage in radiant sunshine this morning.
 
Thursday 8th. October. Our top Raptor expert Martin Moloney received from the Whitehouse Veterinary Practice in Derry a young Male Peregrine Falcon in a poor state of health due to some unknown type of accident, but under Martins excellent care and expertise the bird recovered completely and was released back into the wild yesterday by Martin and that chip of the old block, son Daniel
 
Some of the pictures from today's travels in Clonmany and Urris
Sat. 10th. Oct. 2015. With summer's lease extending it's warm embrace into autumn, it was ideal conditions to journey to the highlands of the stunningly beautiful Clonmany region. The morning started with light grey clouds that were shedding miniscule droplets of light rain sufficent to dampen any deposits of dust on the roads, but with our first stop near the summit of the road over Pinch Mountain to watch the antics of a Sparrowhawk as it eyed it's breakfast of a very alert Magpie, the sun broke through the high translucent cloud to ignite the beautiful panoramic scenery that increased in intensity as we detoured through the tree lined roadway of Hillside where the rambling ruins of old homesteads remained silent on the history of their distance past. A little further on a left turn took us on to the very steep road to the top of the incredible Mamore Gap. Here one would think that they were high in the French Alps, with the immediate proximity of the great deposits of rock with just sufficient room for a car to pass through, then illustrated further by the the very well maintain religious shrines... Further down the pass a stunning vista of the flat farmlands of Urris and the ruined remains of the old military Fort at Lenan was laid out before us, beyond which the Atlantic Ocean faded into infinity. At the Fort another Buzzard was added to our list that now stood at two. ..Here, and as at previous stops, a considerable number of Linnet, Stonechat, Goldfinch, Wheatear, Magpie, Raven, and Jackdaw, were recorded, on the sea a small raft of Eider Duck, comprised of male and female floated on the stillness of the silent ocean. Later at Rockstown Harbour a couple of Great Northern Divers appeared and disappeared in the shelter water's of the Bay. .. The main purpose of today's outing was realized when a Golden Eagle was spotted high on one of the rock and heather clad mountains. Our Raptor count for today including the Eagle was three Buzzards, three Kestrels and one Sparrowhawk. .. Our exceptionally beautiful day was enjoyed with all coats secured in the car boots for most of the day, as the temperature at times nearing the twenty degree mark.
 
Autumnal Outing to Mintiagh Lough and Lough Fada.
Sat. 17th. Oct. 2015. After assembly in Carndonagh, our club outing to participate in the October Monthly Count of the birds on Lough Swilly set off in blazing sunshine through a countryside in it's amazing autumnal beauty, with the distant mountains painted in delicate tones of blue/grey, complimentd by the tint of purple heather glistening through in the morning light..... As we neared our first count point at Buncrana the atmosphere changed dramatically with the great expanse of the Lake and the adjacent shore areas completely cocooned in a blanket of dense fog that reduced visibility to near zero that in turn changed the count into a non event. After waiting a considerable period of time to see if things might improve it was decided to alter course, so we carefully navigated our way back from under this depressing greyness to the summer-like conditions experienced earlier in the day with a leisurely meander in the Mintiagh Lough area, that evoked in some members the memories of the Lake District in England another place of natural beauty. This was followed by a trip to the shores of Lough Fada near Meendoran where a lunch break was enjoyed in warm sunshine by the silent waters of the Lake. The only sound to disturb this peaceful setting was the honking of a flight of seven Whooper Swans making their way high in the cloudless sky in the direction of perhaps Inch Lake, if they can find it. Also recorded here was a young Peregrine that watched with great keenness a large flock of Thrushes that was finding security in a clump of tall bushes. Now fully revitalized by our break here, it was on to Meenavogey, Altashane, and finally to see what might be on view at Trawbreaga Bay. This revealed numbers of Grey Heron, Golden Plover, Widgeon, Teal, and Mallard Duck, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Curlew, and Brent Geese, and usual species of Gull. Today's outing in the end wasn't such a non event after all.
 
Tints of Autumn at Bogay Today.
Sat. 24th. Oct. 2015. How pleasurable to stand and stare on the lip of that extraordinary pastoral arena with it's great patchwork of multi coloured fields stretching into the far distance, where the miniature outline of farm animals can be seen as they graze contentedly under the approving smile of the morning sun. This special place is the beautiful area of Bogay, as viewed from the road high on Hollywell Hill. .. On arrival on the valley floor through the tree lined roadway where the foliage is slowly succumbing to the chills of Autumn, a stop close to Bogay House rewarded us by the sighting of a Peregrine Falcon as it pursued a flock of terror stricken Pigeons. Then a short time later a Sparrowhawk flew overhead, it's profile suggested that it had a late breakfast. Our bounty was added to by the sight of a couple of Jays, unfortunately the appearence of a Grey Squirrel was something of a dissappointment, then that was compensated for by the appearence and calling of a Buzzard high in the blue sky adding more stimulation to the day. All of these riches enjoyed with a background of amazing colours comprised mostly of various tones of Green, Yellows, Orange, deep Reds and Ochre's. After we had absorbed the gifts bestowed on us by nature in this paradise we set off to see what wonders might be on show in the area of the old Slate Quarry at Glentown near St. Johnston, where on arrival a member of the resident Hare Family was observed hightailing it through the long damp grass. In this ideal habitat for small birds, a number of Bullfinch, Redpoll, Goldfinch, Robin, Starling, and later Fieldfare were observed.... The final throw of the dice for this enjoyable outing was a brief visit to the Inch Lake, where large flocks of Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Wigeon, Mallard, and an increasing number of Whooper Swans were recorded.
 
Our Outing with the South-west Donegal Birdwatchers Club.
Sat. 31st. Oct. 2015. Out of a morning of greyness blossomed a day of exceptional opulence and beauty that was enhanced further, when we met with our friends from the South-west Donegal Birdwatchers Club, with whome we had arranged to have a look around the Inch Lake Wildlife Reserve, and that as expected didn't disappoint, with an extravagance of bird life on and off the mirrored lake surface. While in the pale ultramarine cloudless sky many hundreds of Golden Plover and Lapwing excelled as they executed their shimmering displays of aerobatic skills, and on a lesser scale Sky larks paraded over the adjacent pastures. At one particular field of green, multitudes of Whooper Swans were feeding and resting after their long journey from Iceland and other northern climes. Some of these birds will head further down the West Coast to spend winter there, interspersed with these were flocks of Greylag Geese. Back on the Lake, Mallard, Tufted, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Red-breasted Merganser, and Greenshank were busy feeding on the rich menu accessed in the trail of the receding tide. At the Farland Bank extraordinary numbers of Golden Plover and Redshank were recorded at rest on the shore of the special little Islet, the summer reserve of various species of Tern and Black-headed Gull that nest here in very large numbers. Also in the area attired in its finest garb was the stunningly coloured Kingfisher as seen by most members of the outing.... During various periods of the day a considerable number of Buzzards were noted, as was a Kestrel as it hovered over a possible evening meal. ....It's commonly accepted that time flies when you are enjoying yourself, but with our guests having a considerable distance to travel, after a quick visit to Blanket Nook in the late afternoon we called a halt to another enjoyable encounter in the great outdoors.
 
Friday 6th. November 2015. Club member Daniel Moloney reported a flock of Barnacle Geese grazing in a field near Malin Town, in early afternoon today. Last Week Daniel and his wife Claire saw a flock of those beautiful birds, Snow Buntings at Lagg Beach.
 
Watching Short-eared Owl in the Limavady Area.
Sat. 7th Nov. 2015. Today's adventure was in the pursuit of an avian Holy Grail that had been reported to be in the coastal region on the eastern shores of Lough Foyle near the town of Limavady. After some dubious navigation by members we eventually arrived at our destination of the Ballmegrane Bank just as the sun turned it's intentions on our activity. Driving Slowly through this Holland-like area with it's massive construction of dykes, sharp eyed Brian, and Daniel brought the procession to a standstill, by the sighting of the object of our desires, namely a Short-eared Owl as it perched statuesque-like on a fence post, showing scant regards for the line of men looking at it through their scopes and binoculars. Contact was made with our birding friends from Derry, Richard Smith and Theo Campbell, whom we had met a short time earlier and who now rejoined us to enjoy the spectacle in the very pleasant conditions, and keeping an eye on the bird as it moved from one perch to another. Also watched here was a large flock of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew, Sky Larks, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks. A most spectacular display of Floral delights for so late in the year was the Bramble in full blossom in the company of newly flowering Hog Weed, and Vetch. Some time later at the recently constructed shelter overlooking the shore near Ballykelly, Four Little Egrets, large flocks of Turnstones, Whooper Swans, a Peregrine Falcon, and more Sparrowhawks were recorded. Our last stop was was at Longfield near the City of Derry Airport, where the fading light suggested that it was time for home.
 
Tuesday 10th November 2015. Two of our top raptor enthuastists Martin and Daniel Moloney, submitted this photograph of a Male Hen Harrier photographed at it's roost in the Inishowen area, this site has been under observation over a three year pieriod.

Click thumbnail for larger picture

 
A Lovable Day at Lisnagrath.
Sat. 14th. Nov. 2015. On a grey dank winters morning the wonderland of Lisnagrath Woodland was aglow with the extravagant palette of it's autumnal masterpiece still on display, and exaggerated by the many stately trees festooned with leafy garlands of pale yellow, lemon, varying tones of red and green, and combinations of all of these colours. Beneath this the woodland floor was lavishly carpeted with a deep pile of burned orange tinted leaf litter. It was in this amazing theater that we were entertained by a troupe of Red Squirrels that raced to our outstretched hands that unfortunately contained no rewards to compensate for the great joy these little streaks of fluff bestowed on us all. This activity was watched by the many Blue Tits, Great Tits, and Chaffinch, and further out Jays flew silently from tree to tree. At another favorite stop of ours at the Cloney Road on the Northern Ireland side of the border we recorded large flocks of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard, and equally large numbers of Redshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, sprinkled with a few Turnstone, Greenshank and Dunlin. As we were about to move on a little Egret made it's entrance.. .....The earlier conditions of the morning deteriorated with the rain increasing in an intensity that had the light fading. After a few more stops were made along the shore line of Lough Foyle, it was off home with a bountiful treasury of pleasant memories.
 
Redwing and Views from Inch Island Today.
Sat.21st. Nov. 2015. The sharp staccato of hailstones ricocheting off the car windscreen and roof set what we expected the tone for today to be as we set off for Buncrana to commence today's winter count for the month of November of the Birds on Lough Swilly. ..... With the usual start at the pier on this early and cold morning we ended up with a reasonable figure on our list for the number and variety of Gulls, but the quantity of Waders was lower than expected. ...........As we worked our way to our next allocated area Fahan Creek, things began to improved with the biting wind easing considerably, and the showers less frequent, which seemed to have an improvement on the quantity and quality of the bird species. ......By now our lunch break was due, which was enjoyed in the Tea Rooms at Cafe Strahack Inch Island, in the company of manager Boyd Bryce, and Emmett Johnson, a whale of a man from the Wildlife Service. ......After this enjoyable respite we continued our survey in what could only be described as a miraculous change in the weather, with the Sun making amends for it's earlier absence. On conclusion of our task the usual visit to the Inch Lake revealed a high water level, but a bit disappointing on the number of birds usually seen on it. But none the less we left satisfied with a work well done.
 
In the Trabreaga and Malin Head Regions
Sat. 28th. Nov. 2015. The expression that "Valor Favors the Brave" was most applicable when today a few club stalwarts braved the atrocious weather conditions that delivered exceptionally heavy rain that was occasionally laced with piercing hailstones exacerbated by the efforts of gale force winds, all of this encapsulated in an atmosphere of foreboding greyness. .......The reason for this adventure was to ascertain the location and numbers of Barnacle in the Malin and Trawbreaga Bay regions, the birds were most difficult to see in the stormy conditions, but we had a limited success with a count of three hundred and fifty Barnacle, to which an estimated one hundred plus Brent was added, the latter mostly in the Trawbreaga Bay area. At Glasha a Little Egret made it's presence known by it's pristine white plumage that illuminated the gloom. Also recorded here and at Malin Head was the good number of winter visiting Curlew, and at the Head many Eider were sheltering close inshore at headlands that offered some protection from the raging ocean, also at such places were Red-breasted Merganser, Mallard, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Redshank, and at least one Greenshank. On our early homeward journey a couple of Buzzard were recorded.. ...The highlight of the outing was the consumption of lunch in the warmth and luxury of Anne and Jim Toland's Malin Head abode.
 
Saturday 5th. December 2015. No club outing today due to a Red Weather Warning. The usual outing hopefully will be back on track next saturday.
 
Friday 11th. December 2015. A very enjoyable Club Christmas Dinner was held last night in the pleasant atmosphere of Mc Grory's Restaurant, Culdaff. The evening got off to a side-splitting start when Martin Moloney presented his adapted Power Point masterpiece that had all the members showing a different aspect of their personalities by the addition of speech and thought bubbles that was a source of great and prolonged laughter, his addition of an appropriate sound track added to the comical atmosphere it engendered. Then followed dinner chosen from a menu of many choices. What was presented was beautiful food, a treat for the eye and palette......A very enjoyable event was had by all to celebrate the approaching end of our year of 2015 with the joys of Nature and the camaraderie of our fellow members.
 
At Inch Lake and Blanket Nook Today.
Sat. 12th . Dec. 2015. Another day of heroics was the expectancy for our outing when we set off this morning in a dark pall of mist that snaked it's way around some hills and slithered it's way through quiet valleys, encouraged by the continuous rainfall, above which the local mountain peeks appeared ghost-like, encrusted by an overnight fall of snow. At our destination of Inch Lake where we planed on finding shelter in one of the three bird hides strategically placed at suitable intervals along the Lake edge, and when so ensconced see what bird life might be available on the still Lake Waters, but that never happened, as on arrival at our destination we sat in our cars for a little while wondering what we should do. Then someone from on high must have seen our predicament and turned off the rain, and yet again with another gesture improved the light beyond all recognition and even had the shy Sun smiled gently on the area. .. .Then the sharp eyed Martin spotted a couple of Buzzards perched on a tall electricity pylon. Shortly after he pointed out a male Merlin as it caught it's prey while they were both in full flight, that then headed off to a suitable tree to consume it's meal in comfort. .....From the viewing platform a pair of Black Swans were noted as were very large flotillas of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard. ........Overhead large squadrons of Golden Plover and Lapwing demonstrated their skills . ......A short visit to The Farland Bank revealed a very low number of Birds, so a move was made to the Blanket Nook that was a hive of activity, with Whooper and Mute Swans, Red-breasted Merganser, Great-crested Grebe, Greenshank, Redshank, Little Grebe, Wigeon and Mallard, busy preparing for the approaching night. .......More Buzzard were added to our list that now had reached ten.. ......On our way home the trophy of the day was the sighting of a very large flock of Greylag Geese in a field off the Slob Road, that numbered well in excess of one thousand birds. What a way to finish !!!
 
The final bird Count on Lough Swilly for 2015.
Sat. 19th. Dec. 2015. Our final onslaught on the Bird Count of Lough Swilly for the 2015 program was concluded in very windy and dark conditions, but in temperatures of double figures, exceptional for the end of December, more in keeping with mid Spring. Then as the day moved on, and it being so near Christmas we were gifted an afternoon of sunlight that banished the greyness suspended over the earlier part of the day. The spectacle of the outing was witnessed at the new car park near Mc Graths when to the delight of all, especially our Raptor enthusiasts, Martin, Daniel, and Brian, a large Sparrowhawk, just a few meters from where we were standing attempted to abduct a Redwing from the hedge, but fortunately for the thrush in the last few seconds it managed to slip from its assassins' grasp. .... Another special incident was the rescue by Martin, duly assisted by photographer Brian and Peter, of an injured Brent Goose near the Marina at Fahan, it was taken away for a diligent examination and treatment with the hope of it being released back to the wild on full recovery now it was home to some Christmas cheer after our day enjoying Nature in a beautiful Winters day. ........................................... The final event of our 2015 program will be on Monday 28th. December when our traditional Christmas Outing will assemble on the Causeway Road, Inch. at 10.0 am. Every one welcomed including non members..... Suitable footwear, clothing and a snack are recommended ........Happy Christmas to All.
 
Pictures From Our Traditional Christmas Outing.
Monday 28th. Dec. 2015. Our traditional Christmas Club Outing for 2015 was celebrated in marvelous weather that far surpassed the foreboding forecast expected for this special occasion. Yes, it was a bit on the windy side for the early part of the day, but the complete absence of the expected heavy rainfall and the excellent viability made for a very pleasant day's birding along the walkways of the special winter home of Inch Lake for the many thousands of visitors that includes Whooper Swans, Geese, Duck, Waders, and those marvelous acrobats Golden Plover and Lapwing, that formed great black clouds against the brightening sky that would disappear and then reappear as if by magic when the leaders gave the signal to swerve into a different formation. ..........At the Farland Bank we recorded on the exposed mud as the tide retreated, a large number of Redshank interspersed with the occasional Greenshank, while out in the deeper water, six Red-breasted Mergansers busied themselves by feeding. .....Then along the pathway that leads to the hide at Tready Point two Kingfishers were observed catching their fish suppers. Also here in the cover of the tall bushes and trees were Goldfinch Chaffinch, Redpoll and Linnets flitting to and fro. ......Out on the Lake the most beautiful of Ducks the Male Smew was observed as was a Little Egret as it searched through the tall grasses.... No outing would be complete without a few Raptors, so that was rectified when a Sparrowhawk was recorded, as like last week at close quarters, and later a couple of Buzzards satisfied that requirement..... With the light starting to fade a little, a quick dash was made to the lay by at Manorcunningham from where below on the Big Isle a flock of white-fronted Geese grazed contentedly in the company of Greylag, Brent, and large numbers of Mallard Duck.... With our day coming to a close and the sands of time indicating the approach of three o'clock the rain started, but we didn't mind as we had enjoyed a great day to end our season of 2015.
 
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