Inishowen Wildlife Club - Views & News

Inishowen Wildlife Club

Views and News.

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A random selection of images from past club outings.
Today we welcomed the New Year with its warm and bright sunshine, even if a little on the windy side.
Saturday 1st. January 2022. The phrase "wild goose chase" suggests a senseless quest, pursuing the unattainable or in other words a waste of time. But today it was certainly not the case. Our first outing of 2022 took us from the southern shore of Trawbreaga Bay to Malin Head, With temperatures in the mid-teens, benign skies and a gusty southwest wind we set off from Carndonagh. The low tide meant that our stops along the south of Trawbreaga produced nothing out of the ordinary,, a scattering of Brent Geese, a few Curlew and Mallard. Things got better when we reached Malin Town. Within view of the hide at the entrance to the village we spied our first flock of Barnacle Geese, feeding contentedly in a field near the hide. On the mudflats near the bridge, Egret, Curlew, Mallard, Oystercatcher and Wigeon were visible. Going out the Malin Head road, one of our members spotted a Merlin on the hunt. At the second hide we came across two more flocks of Barnacle in the fields near the shore. Along the Gourey Road, Brent, Wigeon, Oystercatcher and Curlew were present. The stormy heights of Knockamenny showed little life apart from a pair of Alpacas grazing contentently at the top. 
Stopping at Gortnamullan, a mixed flock of Gulls was taking advantage of the shelter. In the distance we could see further flocks of Barnacle and this was verified as we passed two flocks near the Radio Station. On our way to The Tower, near Ineuran Bay, we spied some Chough and again three more flocks of Barnacle awaited us in the fields below Banba's Crown. At sea we could see the majestic flight of Gannets while some Eider and a great Northern Diver took advantage of the bay below The Raised Beaches.  Eskey Bay was the meeting point for a large mixed congregation of Gulls along with Oystercatchers, Eider, Mallard and feeding among the wrack thrown up on the doirlings of the beach was a flock of about twenty Turnstones. The pier at Portmore yielded only a few Shag feeding near the pier wall.
At this juncture we went our separate ways, two members going for a swim at Culdaff.
while the rest of us spotted a Buzzard as we left Malin Head. In total we estimated our Barnacle count at just under three thouasand. A very satisfactory beginning to 2022.." A willd goose chase"? Not likely.
A Winter Wonderland.
Another unfavourable forecast and we decided to head to Co. Derry to more sheltered conditions. Our first stop at Culmore Park revealed a large congregation of Wigeon and a small number of Mallard at the northern end of the park. In the distance a small flock of Curlew wheeled in the sky looking for a favourable feeding ground and Greylag Geese flew past in formation. The sheltered bay near Culmore Point yielded some Mute Swans and a Great Crested Grebe.
The maze, that is the roadworks on the Glenshane Road ensured that we did not reach Ness Park, our next intended destination. So back to Gransha Park. No sooner parked and entering the ancient woodland than we came across a party of Grey Squirrells foraging in the leaf litter. A  Great Tit joined in the activity. High in the trees a Goldcrest flitted restlessly.
Our path through this ancient woodland with its gnarled boughs, abundant fallen leaves and sodden footways, took us to the lake, where only the rare plop of the anglers' bait disturbed its tranquil existence. There among the reeds Coot and Moorhen sheltered. A small flock of Goldeneye made an appearance along with Mallard and Dabchick. After a stop back  at basecamp for a snack, we were off again. Blackbird, Song Thrush, Magpie, Robin, Fieldfare and a number of Goldcrest  were spotted, and, revealed by its great chatter a flock of Jay. Stopping at an open field on the edge of the woods we watched two rabbits take advantage of the sunshine while two Meadow Pipits were feeding nearby.
In the fading light we made our way back to the carpark, minds replenished by the russet colours, the starkness of the tree skeletons, the sunlit groves and the stillness broken only by birdsong. Another pleasant day to banish the winter blues. ............ Pictures by Martin.
A Floral Hint of Spring on this January Bird Count.
Saturday 15th. January 2022. Our regular count on behalf of Birdwatch Ireland took place today. We were joined by  two visitors on a chilly but calm day. The tide along the Swilly was well out, which made the counting more difficult. A greater than usual number of birds without the assistance of a strong incoming tide to herd them into countable groups, meant that our counters had to concentrate on the business in hand. Birds wandered over the sands, hid behind rocks, fed among the debris and wrack and moved about at will. Despite the difficulties we had a very successful count with, as mentioned, numbers well above the average. 
At Buncrana Pier we found a large flock of Turnstones. There was little in the way of birds of the feathered variety at the White Strand due to the large numbers of that newly increasing species, Year-Round Sea Swimmers.The car park there was reminiscent of of a good day in summer. Gull numbers were high with Common, Blackheaded, Herring and Greater Blackbacked well represented. Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Brent Geese were visible with Egret, Great Crested Grebe also evident. We also counted Merganser, Sanderling, Great Northern Diver, Ringed Plover and Greenshank. Beore we made our way home we investigated the report of a Brambling at the Farland Bank. And we were in luck. There using the feeders provided by some wildlife lover, among the Great Tits, Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Blackbirds, Sparrows, Greenfinches, Dunnocks, Wagtails, Siskins, Goldcrest and Longtailed Tits was a pair of Bramblings. A lone Goldeneye dived in the lake. A day marked by a job welldone and enjoyable sightings among agreable company. 
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