Inishowen Wildlife Club

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A Random Selection of Pictures from Last Years Outings, by Club Members the winter visiting to Winter visiting birds
Tints of Winter in Glentogher.
Saturday, 5th January 2019. You could be forgiven for describing today's outing as lacklustre. The dull grey lifeless sky, the lack of spectacular wildlife and the plant-life that has yet to show its splendour did not bode well for the new season. But such an atmosphere inclines us to look for other aspects of nature. The silence only highlighted those aspects that we tend to ignore. As we moved through the wooded slopes of Glentogher our attention was drawn to the startling cries of the Wren, the squelch of our boots on the sodden mossy paths. Our eyes were drawn to the colourful buds of the common Alder, springing up like alternative Christmas trees, the colours and hues of the mosses and lichens and the ancient trees with their decorations of Ramalina. A buzzard gliding swiftly below us in search of prey caught our attention. Taking our refreshments in the open air in January lent to the special flavour of the day. As we moved through Creehennan, we stopped to watch a male Buzzard atop a conifer, surveying the sombre landscape. Birdlife was slightly more abundant as we descended towards the Foyle with a large raft of Eider on the opaque surface of the lough. Grey Heron, Black Guillemot, Curlew, Great Northern Diver and Great Crested Grebe also dotted the water. And so ended our first foray into the Natural World of Inishowen. We look forward to many more........... Thanks to Jim Toland for today's report.
Sunday 6th. January 2019. Above are pictures of a large flock of Barnacle Geese, taken late this afternoon at Mc Sheffreys Bridge near Malin Town by one of our members.
The January Bird Count.
Sat. 12th. January 2019. Our assembly point on this grey storm tossed day for the purpose of doing the monthly winter count of the resident and winter visiting birds that frequent this place, where on a day more summer like than today's it's referred to as "The Lake of Shadows" But today with the grey demented waters of the Lake squirming like hosts of angry sea monsters, conjured up from some Chinese mythological story, flashing their white foamy teeth as they contemptuously bit into the sandy shore with such intensity that the little waders like Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover and even the larger Oystercatcher were to be found huddled in groups on the rocks at the Buncrana Pier to avoid it's scolding outbursts. The larger species such as the variety of Gulls, that at times seamed to enjoy the windy conditions, or on other times they sat very close to Mother Earth to avoid the buffeting of the gale. ............ This was the case as we worked our way to the Fahan Creek area, and then to the the Island of Inch where our task was completed . ........ Although the day was stormy, the temperature was at most times in double figures, rather exceptional for mid January.
Winter on the Eastern Shores of the Foyle.
Sat. 19th Jan. 2019. A calm midwinter day devoid of any traces of the colours from the departed Autumn, now just a fading memory. In its stead a somber picture painted from a palette of mono toned misty grey, scumbled over the landscape on the eastern shore of Lough Foyle, where with a reasonable temperature of between eight and nine degrees we enjoyed our first stop at the shoreline of Myroe, where on previous visits we recorded Short-eared-Owl, and Spotted Redshank among the many other species. On this visit a very large flock of Brent Geese was noted as it grazed contentedly on a many acre carpet of specially cultivated lush green turf. Earlier a Peregrine Falcon was only interested in securing it's prey, a Redshank that may have escaped its demise by a bit of nifty aerobatic maneuvers. ........ Further along the coast at Ball Point another Peregrine was spotted on a rock out on the tide-deserted shore as it awaited it's lunch to fly past. On the menu here were Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Redshank, Greenshank and a variety of Gulls. ....... After our tea break at the Swan Bridge picnic area it was off to the lookout at the shore near Ballykelly, here a buzzard was spotted which brought to five our number recorded for the day. Also here the now ubiquitous Little Egret foraged in the adjacent long grasses and shallow shoreline. Our botanist Anne, ably assisted by Daniel was delighted to find the rather rare plant Corn Marigold surviving the cold of the season........ The highlight of the day was our visit to the Roe Valley Country Park where colourful beds of Hellebores offered a welcoming invitation to this peaceful retreat where we wandered leisurely, amazed at the beauty of this arboreal treasure house which had the thundering river supplying a suitable musical background. ......... What a finish to our enjoyable outing.
Saturday 26th January 2019. No Club outing today due to a weather forecast predicting very heavy rain, low temperatures and gale force winds, the latter didn't matererlise untill much later this evening.
The first Outing of Spring.
Sat. 2nd Feb 2019. After the climatic severity of the of the past few Saturdays, today's outing was approached with some trepidation, but on this occasion the gods were in a very benevolent mood and lavished on us the gifts of bright warm sunshine delivered in a silent stillness that had the skeletal remains of last summers wild flowers, the tall umbels and grasses motionless as if transfixed by the wonder of the beautiful countryside. ...... These conditions were much appreciated at our first stop at the Malin Town Bridge, then at the Bathing box Lane Hide, where large numbers of Ducks mostly Wigeon, Teal and Mallard, congregated on the edge of a low tide, the later with their iridescent green head plumage switching on and off as they moved in the intense brightness of the morning sunlight. Also in their pristine garb Little Egrets stepped erratically as if they were treading on hot coals. After our sojourn here it was on to the Culdaff river Estuary where more Wigeon, Teal and Mallard seemed to be enjoying the warmth, then a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers raced over the surface of the calm river water with great speed and panache, while Greenshank, Redshank, Common and Black-heade Gull and Grey Heron looked on disapprovingly. Further along towards Carrowtraw Beach a male Buzzard surveyed it's domain from it's high perch on top of a tall lamp post at the Sports field. Up a little pathway on the other side of the road on a tree stump was this profile of Jim, now just a shadow of himself......... After a short stop at Bunagee we set off to Malin Head through scenic Glengad. .... On arrival at the Head, two large flocks of Barnacle Geese were spotted in the Muckla area. ........ Following our lunch, once again courtesy of Anne and Jim, we discovered the two flocks had moved from Muckla, and were grazing contentedly on the great grassy acreage at Ballyhillin where it was noticed that a number of the birds had leg rings attached. Near here the roadside was decorated with the magnificent display of the blue blossoms of Veronica hedging, this and earlier the rows of Daffodil near Malin Town all added to the beauty of the day. Now with the Sun descending towards the horizon. A short stop at Port Ronan revealed a Great Northern Diver as it drifted on the shimmering sea. We then concluded this special day with the final stop at the White Strand Bay.
Squirrels at Lisnagrath Wood.
Monday 4th. February 2019. One of our members recorded the Red Squirrels enjoying the afternoon Sunshine in the company of a very large numbers of Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Robin and many Jays that could be seen and heard.
Our Day at Meenyanly, Cloghada Hill and Lisnagrath.
Sat. 9th. Feb. 2019. We were set to engage with what a chaotic Winter had in mind for us, with the last few days of its cyclonic rage that had instilled a sense of panic and fear as it scythed it's sward of destruction through the country. Even early this morning it was issuing it's threats, but fortunately before we set off to our first stop in the scenic countryside of Meenyanly south east of Buncrana, the gale assumed a more courteous manner to the point that it nearly disappeared completely, the rain, not to be outdone by the wind behaved in an impeccable way also by staying far off. ............ From Meenyanly we walked to the top of Cloghadod Hill from where we gazed down on a beautiful sun swept countryside with the sparkling blue water of the Fullerton Dam, and it's overflow waters cascading down over the overflow wall. ............. On our long trek back down to the cars it was great to record colourful Jays toing and froing from tree branches to feed on perhaps insects or worms on the ground. Also noticed in the area were Crossbills, utilizing the plentiful supply of fir tree cones suspended from their branches like baubles on a Christmas Tree. After our lunch break near the lofty Grainnes Gap, it was down to the rustic and tranquil setting of Lisnagrath Wood, where we relaxed in the company of those cheeky little Red Squirrels while they plyed their task of checking through the deep copper coloured litter to find a hidden treasured nut, while great hosts of little feathered angels flitted to and fro in the hope of receiving perhaps a handout from their human admirers. ....... on the southern end of the region three Woodcock did a very prompt exit from cover to find another hiding place. With some more time enjoyed in this heavenly place it was time for our merry band to make our exit.
The February Bird Count on Lough Swilly.
Sat. 16th. Feb. 2019. It's that time of year again when we focus our attention on the penultimate Bird Count on the waters and shores of the great Lough Swilly. ......... We commenced our task in near perfect conditions with a temperature variation of between eight and ten degrees, with the occasional shaft of sunlight adding to our enjoyment, not what you expect for the month of February, and these ingredients remained constant throughout our exercise, during which we were rather surprised by the high number of birds and species being recorded. Figures we had expected in December and last month that were not achived, but on this occasion we were delighted to have them for today's records.. ...... Apart from the birds it was stimulating to see a few harbingers of Spring with the light cobalt blue of the Periwinkle peeping from the shelter of roadside hedges and ditches, Primroses, Crocus, hosts of Golden Daffodils the yellow blossom of the Lesser Celandine and the the bright glistening glow of the common Dandelion in the company of the deep crimson shade of wintered Ivy Leaves dangling over a stone wall on Inch Island. These treats are all part of the joys of the great outdoors.
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