Inishowen Wildlife Club

Views and News.

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A random selection of Fora and Faune pictures taken over the past year.
Nature Prepairing for Spring on this January Day.
Saturday 4th. January 2020. With the joys and traditional biblical stories of the festival of Christmas still reverberating in our minds, we decided for our first Club Outing of 2020. to reverse one of these stories. The one that revealed the Magi journeying from the East bearing gifts seamed appropriate, so we set off to the Moville region, on the eastern boundary of our Inishowen Peninsula, bearing cameras and other optical accoutrements, with no guiding star, but the glowing brightness of the morning sun. ........ Our journey commenced under cloudless skies and pleasant temperatures with a stop at the Culdaff River Estuary, where we were surprised and disappointed, as it was devoid of all the usual birds that frequent this popular area, with the exception of a few Gulls, mostly Greater-black Backed. This absence of birds seemed to set the pattern for the remainder of the outing. ........... On our arrival at our destination of Moville, we spent a considerable time, (with the generous permission of the owner) to wander through their beautiful Woodland, to a symphony of perfect silence, and where Nature had the many plants awaiting the arrival of Spring already displaying their young buds,and little coloured flowers into this playground of Nature. ........... After lunch, we went to Inishowen Head, where by now the sky had morphed into a grey mess, with the breeze strengthening and light rain falling. we decided to head back to Base.
Saturday 10th. January 2020. No Field Outing today due to a severe weather warning for our northern region, hopefully conditions will be replaced by the more placid kind for next Saturday.
The January Bird Count 2020.
Saturday 18th. January 2020. What a wonderful day today was, after the meteorological disturbances of the past week, when we were subjected to storm force gales, often laced with heavy rainfall, while at higher altitudes frost and snow decorated the mountains and farmlands. ......... On this occasion it was a day of sunshine wrapped in the merest whisper of a breeze that had the still waters of Lough Swilly reflecting a perfect upside-down image of the surrounding hills and countryside. ........... All of this made our most enjoyable task of starting off the 20-20 Season of our contribution to the Bird Count on the Lough and it's shoreline a lot easier. ............ After the completion of our count to the usual high standard, a short time was enjoyed noting the amazing flocks of Geese, mostly Greylag , but interspersed amongst them were White-fronted, Pink-feet, and a very small number of Barnacle. This display had a bountiful background of Whopper Swans, all enjoying the rich large acreage of verdant grass.. .......... This was the scene available from the length of the Slob Road and to the main car park at the Lake.
A Few Pictures From Outing to Malin Head.
Saturday 25th. Januray 2020. Despite early overcast skies and a cool wind  today's outing to Malin Head proved to be a very enjoyable experience. At Malin Town we spotted four egrets feeding on the receding tide. Moving along Trawbreaga Bay A Kestrel and Sparrowhawk passed overhead while a sizeable flock of Barnacle Geese grazed on the fields along the shore. At Lagg, Mergansers, Brent Geese, Godwit and Widgeon fed contently.Travelling via Knockamany two of our members spotted Buzzards and a Merlin. and as we neared Malin Head we came across more flocks of Barnacle with a large flock quite content to ignore us as they grazed at Ballyhillion. Gannet, Eider, Mallard, Shellduck, Shag, Cormorant, Raven were found as we journeyed around The Head. Our Dutch member, Wil and her husband Martin graciously invited us to lunch at their house with its panoramic views of Inishtrahull, The Garbh Isles and faraway Islay. A quick visit to Portaleen Pier ended the day before we made our way home............ Thanks to Jim Toland for today's report in the absence of our regular scribe. Pictures by Martin Moloney.

An Enjoyable February Day in the Clonmany Area.
Sat. 1st. Feb. 2020. Through a maze of heavy showers and the depressing murkiness of the morning, members for our Saturday field outing from various compass points converged on the village of Clonmany, nestling in the shelter of the surrounding towering mountains where the Golden Eagle has been recorded over the last number of years. ........ From here after the usual salutations we headed up the steep gradient of Pinch Mountain, from the top of which we detected numbers of Ravens, Crows and gulls, actively circling what we discovered was a carcase of a dead sheep, which might also attract an Eagle, but no such luck on this occasion. ........... Now it was on to the old Military Fort at Dunree that houses an interesting Museum with it's collection of militaria, there are also many other facilities available here. On this great rocky bastion, Fulmar have already laid claim to their nesting places, while their partners perform their hypnotic aerobatics manoeuvres on the steep exposed headland. Off shore a number of Great-northern Divers bobbed on a wind-tossed sea. ........ Then it was up through Hillside, a place of beauty and tranquility with areas of woodlands where Silver Birch, their bark glistened in the just arrived sunlight, while further up the brae there is somewhat of a time warp, that transports one back to times long past, where people worked and played, laughed and cried, with the memorials of the ancient crumbling ruined dwellings to their existence and achievements. ............ Now back in the present it was onward and upwards to the wonderful Mamore Gap, with its rock-strewn steep sides that just accommodates the passage of cars in single file. A little further down the other side of the amazing place, a narrow lay by is adorned with a number of religious grottos that gives a sense of an Alpine Pass. ...... Far below the flat landscape of Urris is exposed with Dunaff Head and the great Atlantic fading into infinity. ........ With a short stop at Lenan we recorded a couple of Buzzards and a Kestrel high above the Urris Hills. ..........Now it was on to our penultimate stop of the outing with a bit of a dander to Rockstown Harbor where great thundering waves crashed and fragmented, then shimmering like stars in a sky of dark Atlantic blue over the red granite rocks that guard the little Bay, where flocks of Mergansers, Shags and Eider found shelter from the turbulent Ocean. ....... Last call was a short visit to Binnion where a flock of Brent Geese occupied their usual place on the curve of the river before it enters the welcoming embrace of the Sea.
Saturday 8th. February 2020. No club activity due to the approaching severe storm " Ciara." with its venomous intent. Roll on next Saturday, hopefully with a return to more Spring-like conditions..
The Friday Bird Count of Storm Dennis.
Friday 14th. February 2020. After last Saturday's debacle caused by the storm "Ciara," It was with some expectancy that we looked forward to conditions more akin to Spring for this weekend, added to by the fact that it would be our penultimate winter bird count on Lough Swilly until next September. But again on this occasion, tomorrow and Sunday are threatened with another disruptive storm, this one aptly named "Dennis" no doubt he of the menacing type. ....... Because of this disruption, the luminaries in Birdwatch Ireland suggested that if possible some members might do their count today, while others might manage their's on Sunday forenoon, and avoid the threat in store for tomorrow. ............ After encountering a few heavy showers this morning on our way to our starting point at Buncrana, the sun nudged a few clouds apart, that allowed its rays to beam light and warmth on the countryside, and changed our attitude to the task in hand. On completion of the count, managed despite the buffeting effect of the wind on the Lough's high tide, it looked as if it was trying to escape its boundaries. ........ Our work now done, we became aware of the reawakening of Spring, with its emissaries putting their smiling faces on show, such as sprinklings of Snowdrops in sheltered wooded areas, the pendulous Catkins of willow trees swaying in the afternoon breeze, the occasional Daffodil nodding their approval, the blue flower heads of the Periwinkle and the elaborately patterned foliage of Lords-and-Ladies, to name just a few. What a miracle, the Season of Spring is?.
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