Inishowen Wildife Club

Views and News 09
           
     
     
 

 

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    Thursday 1st. Jan. 09. We start the New Year on a bright note with a reported sighting of a female Hen Harrier, in the Illies area of Buncrana, and of sixty Waxwings recorded near the Tullnabratilley road, Rashenny, opposite the Ballyliffin Golf Club. Martin Moloney was informed of these events by well known wildlife expert Ralph Sheppard, Raphoe. This afternoon Neil Doherty, Gortfad, Clonmany, who is off to South Africa on Safari in a few days, reported the sighting of a Golden Eagle, near the Meentiaghs Lough. What a start to 2009.
     
    Friday 2nd. Jan. 09. The Golden Eagle reported yesterday , by Neil Doherty was seen again today in the same area by Martin Moloney. who said that the Bird appears to have an orange wing tag attached. Also recorded was a pair of Sparrowhawks displaying in the bright sunlight high above the Carndonagh Road.
     
    Sat. 3rd. Jan. 09. The main focus of our outing was to pay a visit to the Meentiaghs Lough district in the hope of seeing the Golden Eagle, that had been sighted by a couple of club members previously, but our luck was not in. With the greyness of the morning coupled with the heavy traffic on this dangerous stretch of roadway, we decided to move on to our next objective, which was to try to locate a flock of Waxwings reported in the Gortfad area of Clonmany, where again we drew a blank, but all was not lost, for as we were starting to go down the Binnion road, there they were, dressed in their magnificence plumage, with those wonderful blobs of yellow on their wing and tail feathers that is suggestive of Wax, hence the name "Waxwing." At Binnion we recorded twenty eight Brent Geese, grazing hurriedly on a little grassy Islet at the bend of the river, that enters the cold ocean just a few hundred yards away . After that mandatory elixir of life, namely the cup of tea, we headed to the Isle of Doagh road, where we observed a large flock of Barnacle Geese, that were too distant to enable us to give an accurate count, but they were in the hundreds. Our next destination was the Tullnabratilley area, where we were rewarded with a number of species including Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Pheasant, and Peregrine Falcon. .... To finish the outing, and with the light fading we made a brief visit to Glasha, where we recorded Redshank, Curlew, Mallard, Oystercatcher, and Golden Plover.
     
    Sun. 4th. Jan. 09. In bright Sunshine this afternoon, large numbers of Waxwings reported in the Carndonagh Area.
     
    Sat. 10th. Jan. 09. Due to the strong gale force winds and the early morning torrential rain it was decided to call off today's outing.
     
    Friday 16th. Jan. 09. The new year continues to offer up surprises, with the sighting of a Red Kite, at approximately 10.15. a.m. in the Ballymagan area of Buncrana. The bird was observed by members, Martin and Daniel Moloney, who said that it had two wing tags, that may have been of a purple colour. A second Kite was reported in the same area around lunchtime, with both birds seen at the same time. The second bird did not appear to have any wing tags.

    Picture of a Kite curtsey of Helen Olive at www.redkites.net

     

     
    Sat. 17th. Jan. 09. Our long awaited visit to Lisnagrath Wood took place today, where the winter eeriness pervades this wonderful plantation of Beech, Chestnut, Oak and Scotch Fir, that stand sentinel on this most wondrous forest, and whose creaking limbs reverberate through the ghostly stillness of the slowly improving morning light. Red Squirrels scamper deftly through the denuded arms of these monuments of nature, while others scratch knowingly through the deep leaf litter to recover the hoards of nuts, hidden there last Autumn. In this rather bleak setting, the first emissary of Spring, the little Wood Anemone is emerging through the copper encrusted woodland carpet, and in the weeks to come will brighten our footsteps with its myriad of white floral patterns. . In the distance the mewing call of the Buzzard can be heard, as is the occasional raucous call and sighting of the elusive Jay. Later at the area between Gortcormigan and the Birdstown road we recorded eight Buzzard . With the wind and cold increasing it was decided to pay a short visit to the new hide that has been erected near the site of the old railway junction at the Watery Road, near Burnfoot, where we enjoyed the relative warmth and shelter to watch the many flocks of Lapwing flying over the Lake, then converging to form one very large flock that indulged in a shimmering display of aerobatics. With the onset of the predicted heavy rain and an increase in the tempo of the wind to storm force, what had been a very pleasant outdoor activity soon drew to an end.
     
    Monday 19th. Jan. 09. We have been informed by Keith Bowey. Project Manager, Northern Kites. Tyne & Weir. And by Chris Powell of Gigrin Farm.- The Red Kite Feeding and rehabilitation Centre, Mid Wales, That the Bird seen last Friday in the Ballymagan area of Buncrana, was one of a number released in Co Down, and Co Wicklow, as part of a reintroduction program in those areas. The purple coloured tag indicates that it a 2007 Bird.
     
    Sat. 24th. Jan. 09. Today our clubs activity was the involvement with the bird count of the Lisfannon and Fahan Creek areas as part of the winter I-Webs survey of Lough Swilly, where members Mary Mc Laughlin, Martin Moloney, Terry Tedstone and Paddy Mc Crossan, braved the early morning icy road conditions, to be compensated later by a glorious sunny day, which, with the excellent light, made our task much easier and enjoyable. Added to this was the high number and species recorded, which gave the group the feeling of a job well done.
     

    Sunday. 25 th. Jan. 09. The new year continues to throw up more pleasant surprises with the reported sighting of a male Hen Harrier, by Boyd Bryce, at Clare Hill, Redcastle.

     

    Sat. 31st. Jan. 09. What a change from the bright, sunny, calm conditions enjoyed last Saturday, to the dark, dank, cold, winter dreariness that we endured today. After assembly in the Square, Clonmany, we drove to Rockstown Harbour in Urris, where we sought shelter from the piercing East wind, in the lee of the old fishing boats that have been decommissioned for a number of years, and from this vantage point we watched Red-breasted Merganser, Black Guillemot, and rafts of Eider Duck etched on an ominous dark sea that merged into an equally foreboding sky, which formed the perfect backdrop for the thundering explosion of giant waves on to the great granite rocks due North of our position, that sent pristine white plumes of atomized sea high into the winter sky. There was a marked absence of waders, their only representatives being Oystercatcher, and Curlew . We next proceeded to Leenan Pier, where we enjoyed a short respite for a much yearned for cup of tea. Now feeling well fortified we headed to Pinch where there had been reports of a Hen Harrier, but none was noted, though a pair of Buzzards were seen high in the sky, braving the strong cold wind to soar majesticaly on the updraught from Slievekeeragh. Earlier a Kestrel and a Perigrine Falcon were recorded. Our final stop was at Binnion, where we recorded a flock of fifty Brent Geese on the little islet on the bend of the river, swollen by the heavy overnight rain.

     
    Tuesday, 3rd. Feb. 09. We have been contacted on a few occasions recently by a wildlife enthusiast from Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India, who came across our web site and liked what we did. His name is Sunil Gaur. Sunil works as a wildlife tourist guide in the famous Keoladeo National Park, where there are many animals including the Common Jackal, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Jungle Cat etc. The birds that he sees include Grey Nightjar, Dusky Eagle Owl, Collard Scops Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Large-tailed Nightjar, Wallcreeper, Spotted Wallcreeper. Sunil loves what he does and says that he is living in a paradise of Nature.
     
    Sat. 7th. Feb. 09. Today was indicative of what it might be like in Siberia or Outer Mongolia, with the very icy wind blowing from Polar regions, and that was accompanied by occasional snow flurries, but the few stalwarts that braved these punishing conditions were rewarded with the sight of upwards of two thousand Greylag Geese, grazing contently on the fields adjacent to the pump house at the Inch Lake, as did the large numbers of Whooper Swans in the field in front of the pump house. Gracing the predominately blue sky were large flocks of Lapwing toing and froing in their magical formations. Hiding on the edges and in the reed beds that are prominent on the Northern fringes of the Lake, were large flocks of crafty Teal, Mallard, and Tufted Duck, with good numbers of coot, and Grey Heron availing of the shelter from the storm afforded by this habitat. Near the Farland Bank an estimated seven hundred plus Golden Plover were also enjoying the shelter provided by the old railway embankment as they indulged in whatever they were consuming on the scantly clad pasture. The number of birds on the water at Inch Lake and Blanket Nook were minimal, due in part to the weather. We did record for the day five Buzzard and two Sparrowhawk. Also noted were flocks of Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Linnet, and a lone Goldcrest.
     
    Sat.14th. Feb. 09. In conditions fast approaching the expectations of Spring, we had our first stop on the lofty valley rim on Hollywell Hill, that overlooks the fertile pastures of Bogay, with the snow capped peaks of Muckish, Errigal, and Slieve Snaght, in the far distance. Further down the valley near Bogay House where the still air was filled with melodic birdsong, contributed by the Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, and Blackbird, with the counterpoint offered by the mostly hidden Jay, Rook, and Jackdaw, while high in the sky Sparrowhawks performed their romantic overtures on this St. Valentines day. Off to the East four Buzzards soared slowly on the rising thermals from the sheltered and warm pastoral valley floor. After our midday repast and respite, we headed to Dooish Mountain, and while on our way we observed many large skeins of Greylag Geese in transit from the Foyle to the Swilly. On arrival at the summit of Dooish we recorded more Buzzards, as we enjoyed the breathtaking panoramic vista to be had from this viewpoint. Later at Carrowen, Burt, the tick of the day was achieved with the sighting of three pair of Yellowhammer. a bird that has been in decline for many years. A short distance further on we watched a Sparrowhawk chase and kill a Chaffinch. Our last stop of the ever improving evening, was a quick call to the viewing platform at Inch Lake, where apart from the usual residents, we observed many hundreds of Golden Plover on the Western shore of the Lake, while to the East the fifth Sparrowhawk of the day was seen as it traded insults with a few crows.Our count of Buzzard for the outing was thirteen, which is an indication of how well the species is doing in Inishowen.
     
    Sat. 21st Feb. 09. The I-webs 2008/2009. count of Lough Swilly concluded today with our club participating as usual. Fortunately the favourable weather conditions experienced today, as on all the other such occasions throughout the winter made the task a lot more accurate and pleasurable. Our allocated count area was again Lisfannon and the Fahan Creek, which involves part of the Inch Island coastline. A good number of species were recorded, with a high count of Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, and Brent Geese. Involved were members Mary Mc Laughlin, Dermot Mc Laughlin, Danny Mc Laughlin, Jim Toland, and Paddy Mc Crossan, absent were Martin Moloney, who was at the Annual Irish Raptor Group meeting in Dublin, where he was giving a talk on his methodology involved in recording the sighting, nesting, and feeding habits of Raptors. The other absentee was Terry Tedstone, who has been involved in an art project this last few weeks.
     
    Sat.28th. Feb. 09. With the impending doom and gloom predicted by the weather forecasters for today, it was decided that rather than go to a more exposed habitat that we had in mind , we decided on the safer option which was Inch Lake, where the facilities of a hide was available if needed. Much to our relief the expected weather did not make an appearance, instead conditions were near perfect with the ever improving Spring light, and a gentle wind, that contained just a little of the ingredient of Winter. This allowed us to have a leisurely, and thorough look at the wildlife on the Lake and surrounding area. Conspicuous by their absence were the Greylag Geese, perhaps the may have already departed our shores for their breeding grounds in Greenland. Also noted was the reducer number of Canada Geese. On the plus side were the large number of Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Red- breasted Merganser, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Goldeneye, Scaup, Shelduck, and Whooper Swans, one of which was showing off it's array of jewlery in the form of a Yellow ring on one leg while the other leg displayed a silver one. There were a was lesser numbers of coot, Tufted Duck, and as would be expected, Greenshank. Earlier in the morning a pair of Buzzards were recorded at the northern end of the Lake, and while we were plodding our weary way to the hide for the mandatory timeout, we were entertained by the delicate serenade of a little Goldcrest to its chosen one. It was not until we were on our way home after a most enjoyable day, that the first few drops of rain splashed on our windscreen.
     

    Sat. 7th. Mar. 09. The morning dawned damp and grey, which had the thought of cancellation foremost in the mind. But later as we made our way through Effishmore, Carrowmore, and Baskil, where large flocks of Starling, Fieldfare, and Redwing were observed checking out the local cuisine, the outlook appeared a little better. Then across the narrow Taraboy Bridge, on to Camby, where a weak sun filtered through the translucent cloud cover, and clumps of daffodils that festooned the many well maintained homesteads, nodded their approval of the improving light on the rain saturated countryside. At the forest before we reached Tirahork, we enjoyed our cup of nectar, with the song of Siskins, as they flitting through the tops of the tall Firs, adding to the joy of our alfresco snack. It was also in this locality that three Woodcock were recorded. Further along, more Fieldfare,and Redwing were noted. It would appear that they were stocking up on an adequate food supply, to sustain them on their outward migration to Scandinavia, and Northern Europe. At the Drumnagassan Road we watched a Kestrel, with it's bright rust coloured plumage flashing in the ever decreasing Sunlight, as it maneuvered over it's intended prey in the extensive moorland below. Our last task before the arrival of the imminent rain, and departure for home, was to check for any signs of Long-eared Owls in areas where they had been recorded before, but the outcome was negative.

    A Goshawk has been reported in the Buncrana district earlier in the week, by member Martin Moloney. This is the fourth year that that a Goshawk has been seen here.

     
    Sat. 14th. Mar. 09. A windswept peninsula was what confronted us early today, but with most of the overnight rain gone, we decided on seeing what might be recorded on the eastern side of our territory. After assembly at the Clochan, Glentocher, we proceeded through Crehennan, and then to Glencaw Hill, where the Sun shed some of it's bounty on a multi coloured country side, with the many faded tones of winter contrasting with fresh new growth that is about to explode spectacularly on the new season waiting in the wings, due to Spring being lulled back by the strong cold wind to its slumbers, from which it had awakened a few weeks earlier. At Tullyally a number of Buzzards were recorded, soaring kite-like, as they scanned the territory for their prey. Here also a pair of the beautiful and somewhat misnamed Grey Wagtails was observed foraging on a heap of mushroom compost that, being biodegradable will soon be absorber into the surrounding soil. At Falmore we watched a family of Whooper Swans resting on the rippled surface of the lake before their long journey to a far northern homeland. A few Moorhens were also noticed as they employed themselves in the reeds at the waters edge. A little later more Buzzards were noted, one of which was in conflict with a Hooded Crow, and to the North of this tussle, a Kestrel was sighted hovering on the now decreasing wind. After the rather ominous start to the morning, we finished our enjoyable outing without a single drop of rain.
     
    Sunday 15th. Mar. 09.The clubs winter count of the Culdaff estuary was completed today in reasonable conditions.Near Malin Town this afternoon, a flock of Barnacle geese (approximately 60) was recorded, and in an adjacent field a flock of Greylag, numbering twenty two was noted. These species will soon be departing our shores for Greenland and Iceland until their return next winter. Further out at Lagg, large numbers of Brent Geese were enjoying their sojourn, and will for some time yet. They are the last Geese to leave for their Arctic breeding grounds in northern Canada and Greenland.
     
    Sat. 21st. Mar. 09. We arrived this morning at the enchanting woodland that is Lisnagrath, where we were greeted with the sighting of Red Squirrels feeding on a hoard of nuts, that has been provided by some nature loving benefactors. Some of these treats were in a variety of containers suspended from the branches of a great tree, while others were just scattered on the carpet of last Autumn's discarded Beech leaves. This little treasure trove had the full attention of the many small birds, continually arriving and departing with their little "carry-outs", the clientele included Great Tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, and at one stage a couple of Long-tailed Tits, that never dilly dally in one place for long. Further in the forest, the first Chiffchaff of 09. was seen and heard communicating with another of the species . A Treecreeper was observed winding it's way up and around a mighty Beech Tree, and as expected the call of Jays echoed through the stillness of the place. Our next stop was at Glackmore Hill, after parking near the brow of the hill, we made our way on foot up the steep gradient to the top where we enjoyed the breathtaking vista that extended far to the West, with Buncrana just visible in the distance. The foreground and middle distance was comprised of many acres of mixed forestation. To the North a large expanse of open Moorland, with an occasional homestead that belonged to a different time, nestling in shallow comfort zones of broad leafed trees, that would have offered some protection during long cold winters of yesteryears. This place was once populated by large flocks of sheep, but with changing times, very few now remain. It was while we were admiring the panoramic view that three Crossbills flew overhead and came to rest on the topmost branches of a fir tree below us on the valley side. Later as we made our way down to the main road, a pair of Yellowhammers were watched as they foraged in a farm yard where perhaps there was some tit bits available. Our final stop was at Gortin, Ture, where Buzzards and Kestrels in the bright sunshine floated on the strong up draughts. In the adjacent plantation, there was strong evidence that Long-eared Owls, and Sparrow Hawks frequent this habitat.
     
    Wed.25th. Mar. 09. The first report of a Swallow for 2009 comes from Mark Daly, who reported seeing it in Moville on Monday last the 23rd.
     
    Sat. 28th. Mar. 09. Our intended destination today was the area North from Buncrana to Dunree. On our arrival at our assembly point in Buncrana, and with the turbo charged Arctic wind bearing down from the northern direction, effected a quick rethink which saw us head in the opposite direction to the reliable Inch Lake. Here the great old railway banking offered the solace we desired from the wind, then the Sun enhansed our enjoyment by embracing the area with it's warm comforting tenderness, as did the many colourful displays of Primroses exaggerated by Natures perfect colour contrast with clumps of Sweet Violets, and the line of trees and bushes about to don their new mantles to welcome what will be the warmer days ahead. On our way to this destination, in a field at the Slob Road we took note of the many hundreds of Whooper Swans grazing there, many of which had rings attached, and some with orange tinted necks which would suggest that they had wintered in some bog land area in the West of Ireland. Intermingled with these were good quantities of Greylag Geese. On the Lake we observed from the viewing platform, large numbers of Mallard, Teal, Tufted, and Shelduck, and just a few Canada Geese, with the usual residents such as Mute Swans, Heron, etc. Later at Blanket Nook we recorded Bar-tailed Godwit, in their hundreds, and as at Inch Lake, Mallard, Teal, and Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe. Little Grebe, Redshank, and Greenshank, and on the surrounding bushes were Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, and Blackbird. When homeward bound we recorded Swallows near the Inch causeway road, and watched many pairs of Great Crested Grebe perform their beautiful mating ballet on the glistening surface of the Lake.
     
    ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.
    The Clubs Annual General Meeting will be held in the Crana College, Buncrana, on Tuesday night 7th. April 09. at 8.00.am. All welcome.
     
    Sat. 4th. April 09. Last weeks ambition to visit the area North of Buncrana, thwarted by the elements, was achieved today, and in worse climatic conditions than on the last occasion when we did an about turn and went to Inch Lake instead. This time it was decided to brave the elements and give it a go. The persistent rain that started as we set out, continued as we stopped at Neds Point, and Linsfort, but the Sun made somewhat of an uncertain appearance as we reached Dunree Fort which gave the impression of a nice day, but with the addition of a very cold North wind, things were not as they might have appeared. Here we were entertained by the Fulmars, a close relative of the Albatross, as they performed their Hypnotic aerobatics near to where their mates were ensconced in nests on the steep rocky bastion that is the foundation of the old Fort. Also observed was a Peregrine Falcon terrorizing a pair of Ravens above the topmost gun emplacement high on the hill behind the Fort. Jackdaws were busy attending to their domestic duties , preparing for the new arrivals soon to occupy the many nests, in lots of nooks and crannies to be found in the derelict buildings in the locality... Onward through the lovely Hillside, to Pinch, where Kestrels were recorded hunting over the beautiful warm tinted moorland. Then to Gortfad, Clonmany, where we were sheltered from some of the piercing icey blast by Slievekeeragh. Here again more Kestrels were noted, and in a little wooded area, where the Primrose and Sweet Violet that survived the harshness of late winter, seemed to be welcoming the newly awakening Wood Anemone and Wood Sorrel. On the way home a flock of sixty / seventy Golden Plover were recorded near Owenerk on the eastern side of the Mamore Gap............Earlier in the week Daniel Moloney reported seeing a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a very cheeky Merlin on the southern fringes of Glentogher. And Terry Tedstone reported on Wednesday the first Sighting for 09 of a Wheatear at Dunree.
     
    Sunday 5th. April 09. Our raptor enthusiast Martin Moloney, together with Stephen Colton while assisting the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Groups Hen Harrier survey in Co Tyrone, reported seeing a Buzzard, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine Falcon, a pair of Golden Eagles, and a pair of Hen Harriers, all in the space of three hours. That has got to be a record ?.
     
    Tuesday 8th. April.09. A well attended A.G.M. was held in the Crana College, Buncrana last night, with the minutes being read by our very efficient, re-elected Secretary, Mary Mc Laughlin, after which a report on the clubs activities of the past year was read by Dermot Mc Laughlin, who was also re-elected Chairman. Then suggestions were made as to what projects we should get involved in, for the next twelve months. One of the many was that a day trip to Rathlin Island might prove to be an intresting destination. Our good friends from the Inishowen Moth and Butterfly Group, George Mc Dermott, and Karl King were in attendance, and a very entertaining illustrated talk on the Moths of the region was delivered by the most knowledgeable George. Terry Tedstone, Dermot, and George also discussed the findings of their Butterfly Transect undertaking of last Summer. An equably competent contribution was given by Martin Moloney, who discussed, again with illustrations, his talk on the keeping and analysing of Raptor nesting and behavior records, that he gave at the Irish Raptor Study Groups Annual Meeting in Dublin a few weeks past. Then to round off the evening Chairman Dermot, gave a talk on Biodiversity, with many of his beautiful pictures of local scenery and the flora and fauna to be found there.
     
    Sat. 11th. April 09. Crashing waves on to a golden beach in sparkling sunshine, was the perfect stimulus for a day in the great outdoors that nature presented to us as we gathered in the car park at the Ballyliffin shore. In these pleasant conditions we set off, walking along the tide line in an westerly direction, where Ringed Plover were standing in statuesque fashion in their own reflections cast by the wet sand left by the receding tide, a scene that was repeated not far away by a few Curlew. Further out, Oystercatchers, Herring Gulls, and Great Black-backed gulls kept watch from their razor sharp rocky perches. Then from behind us the call of Choughs could be heard, and later seen, as they foraged through the rough grassy terrain for their mid morning snacks. Shortly after, six pair of Shelduck sparkled in the sunlight against the blue backdrop of the morning sky as they flew in perfect formation to some unknown destination. Later on the eastern side of the beach near the golf links, we checked on a possible site, for evidence of the elusive Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, but to no avail. After this it was decided to replace the energy consumed by our workload of the morning, so out came the thermos flasks etc, then after the refueling, we headed to the beautiful Isle of Doagh, where from Carrickabraghy we watched through our scopes, the many Gulls, fulmars, and Shags, distributed all over the emerald capped Glasheady Islet. Our viewing here was curtailed by a passing shower, which saw us move to the more sheltered picnic site between Fegart and Doaghmore, where in warm sunshine again we watched a flotilla of Red-breasted Mergansers patrol the waters between the shore and the sandbank, laid bare by the outgoing tide. On the edges of this newly emerged territory forty six Brent Geese were engaged in checking what edibles might be available there. Also in the vicinity a Black Guillemot in transitional plumage, would appear on the surface for a short time before retreating again to the mysterious world below. And in this blissful atmosphere was where we ended a pleasant Easter Saturday's outing.
     
    Wed. 15th. April 09. Terry Tedstone reported seeing a Peacock, and Green-veined White Butterfly last Sunday morning the 12th. at Inch Lake, which may be a first sighting of these species for 2009 in this area.
     

    Thursday 16th. April 09. A White-tailed Eagle with yellow and white wing tags has been reported in the Fullerton Dam area of the Illies, over the last few days.

     

     

    Picture of the White-tailed Eagle flying over the Fullerton Dam, recorded by the Coyle Brothers of J.A.C. Productions.

    Some of those watching the spectacle of the White-tailed, and Golden Eagle, at the Fullerton Dam.
    Sat. 18th. April 09. There was no difficulty in deciding the destination for today's outing, with the reported sightings midweek of a White-tailed Eagle, at the Fullerton Dam in the Illies, confirmed by some club members. So it was a large turnout in glorious warm sunshine, by wildlife enthusiasts from near and far, who came to observe this spectacular creature with it's amazing wingspan, but the tension reached fever pitch when our celebrity was joined by an equally important visitor, in the form of a Golden Eagle. What a privilege to watch these two great birds soar in the warm up draughts on the western side of the Dam, and to witness the disdain shown to the many Ravens and Crows attempting to disrupt their majestic flight. This spectacle carried on for most of the morning, after which they retired for their siesta. Also making a few appearances were Merlin, that were not to be outdone by their much larger counterparts. Later, where the overspill from the Dam tumbles towards the Crana River, Grey Wagtails wobbled on stones in the stream , as they picked off flies to feed to their partners sitting on eggs in well concealed nests close by. Also prominent were Butterflies emerging into the warm sunshine after the cold and winds of the past months, these included Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood, and a Green Hairstreak that landed on a members shoulder.
    Mon. 19th. April. 09. We have received reports of a rare winter visitor from North America, namely the Ring-necket Duck, that is associating with the Pochard, and Tufted Duck, at Inch Lake
     
    Tue. 14th. April 09.Thrushes about to fledge at Crackna, Culdaff, today . Photo's by Stoyocho Danev.
     
    Sat. 25th. April 09. What a difference a week can make, from a countryside wrapped in the warm embrace of the benevolent Sun, that had the whole peninsula looking at it's best, and none more so than the Illies, a beautiful place where Eagles fly. But this morning the picture was of heavy grey skies that obscured the mountain tops, and a very cold North wind that had the Dam waters in a turbulent mood. The only constant was the presence of the White-tailed Eagle that was to be seen, not soaring high in the blue sky of last week, instead, was availing of the shelter provided by the plantation on the northern fringe of the reservoir. Not withstanding the wintry conditions there was a good turn out to witness this rare event, with as on previous occasions visitors from near and far. The conditions dictated that we move on to a more sheltered location, and that was to the Gortin area of Aught, Ture. Here it was a complete reversal of the earlier conditions, with the sun shining brightly and a mere zephyr wafting through the trees, that had large numbers of Orange-tip, and Green-veined White Butterflies, resplendent in their new pristine pixilated garments, fluttering from flower head to flower head. At this point we indulged our craving for a warm beverage etc. and while doing so were provided with a display of hovering by that exponent , the Kestrel, and soon after a Long-eared Owl made a very brief appearance before returning to the bosom of the dark forest. Then to that most wonderful of places that is Lisnagrath Wood, more beautiful with the light filtering through natures delicate air brushed soft green foliage, and through the, as yet uncluttered smaller trees, a thin veil of Bluebells was spread with great deftness, while on the fringes, golden clumps of Dandelions were the perfect foil, and nearer the road the fluffy seed heads of Coltsfoot were intermingled with the pristine white Stitchwort. A little further in the wood the spectacular little Green Hairstreak Butterfly was recorded for the first time in this location. But all too soon it was decided to depart for home and leave this amazing wonderland to another day.
     
    Thu. 30th. April 09 . The renowned lepidopterists, Bob Auldwell and Frank Smith, of the Dublin Naturalists' Field Club paid us a visit, to try and ascertain if the elusive Marsh Fritillary Butterfly that was once prevalent in the Inishowen Peninsula, might still exist in some, as yet unknown habitat. So with this in mind, this morning Dermot Mc Laughlin and George Mc Dermott, accompanied Bob, and Frank, to likely areas in Dunree and Clonmany. In the afternoon with the bonus of glorious Sunshine, Jim and Anne Toland, Con O Donnell, and Paddy Mc Crossan, took them to the most probable sites in the Malin district. No caterpillars at any of the sites were observed. But the search will continue when the Butterfly has developed to the flying stage, which lasts from mid May to early July.
     

    Friday. 1st. May 09. Our Member Terry Tedstone has forwarded a photo of an outstanding bit of engineering by a Queen Wasp in his garden shed. This magnificent construction, according to Terry is the initial nest where the first twenty or so workers will be reared. While studying the paper nest the Queen emerged which he says, indicates that she may be feeding larvae, and when these have developed into workers, it will quickly develop to a possible 25.000 colony of workers. So the question posed by Terry is should he move home or should they? Keeping in mind the fact, that if you swat one of these chaps, it releases pheromones that will bring the rest of the colony to its aid. Surely the material of nightmares.

    Friday 1st. May. 09 .. 8.06. a.m. George Mc Dermott, of the Inishowen Moth Group, doesn't think that it would be possible to move the nest, but if it was, that she would have time to build another elsewhere. If the nest was to be removed, he suggests that it should be performed when she is "Out of Town" because she would be very angry if disturbed.

     

    Sat. 2nd. May 09. Our objective today was to launch a full scale search for the wonderful little Green Hairstreak Butterfly. Its total absence last year from all of their known sites, and from newly found habitat where we were certain that they would abound was a cause for some concern. After we gathered in Buncrana, we drove through the Illies, where we had to pay a brief visit to the Fullerton Dam, to see if our very special guest the White-tailrd Eagle was receiving visitors, but the answer to that was, no. It had been reported in the area earlier in the morning. We hurried on to our first stop on the Butterfly trail , and that was in the Cabry area of Quigleys Point, where in brilliant sunshine we were rewarded by recording this Emerald Gem feeding on the radiant blossoms of the fragrant Whin bushes that adorned the hedges and ditches on this beautiful May morning, closer to the road and in the fields the Lady's Smock was hosting many Orange-tip female butterflies who were busy laying their miniscule eggs on the little flower heads. Buoyed up by our success here we set off North for the Ballyargus region, where to our delight, Green Hairstreaks were appearing from all directions. The possibility of a count could not be considered due to the sheer weight of numbers coupled by the creatures ability to almost disappear in flight. Also recorded in this area were good numbers of Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies. Our feathered friends were not neglected with a count of ten Buzzards, a Kestral, numerous Willow Warblers, Chaffinch, Siskin, Redpoll, and a little Goldcrest and from the nearby woodland the strong song of a Blackcap could be heard. Later with a few dark clouds approaching, as was evening, we called a halt to the proceedings, glowing in the satisfaction of a day well spent in the glorious outdoors.

    Sat. 9th. May 09. We intended to continue our monitoring of the sites favoured by the Green Hairstreak Butterfly in the Gleneely, and Falmore areas, where a few years past we had great success, but today where we had expected to have the object of our admiration and curiosity fluttering over the plentiful Bilberry, and Whin bushes, their favorite food source at Cambry, but unsurprisingly this was not to be the case due to the heavy overnight rain that was continuing this morning, and turning the countryside to a sodden mess. But penetrating the gloom was the wonderful display exhibited by the miles of gloriously manicured whin hedges that surrounded most of the rich green farmland in this part of the peninsula, and where many wild flowers such as the lady's Smock, Primrose, Violet, and in some places, Wood Anemone, Wood sorrel, and Bluebells, adorned the quiet country roads, added to this was the strong full voice of that troubadour, the Blackbird, echoing from a nearby fir tree plantation, and in the distance a Buzzard was seen, hunting for food to take to it's mate, probably nesting in the tall trees that were visible on the horizon. Due to the weather, that by now had introduced a rather cold north- east wind into its many variations, bird life was rather restricted in a visible and vocal sense, apart from a few Willow Warblers, Reed Buntings, and more Buzzards. The Sun did make a few attempts to shine as we were about to go home, but in this brief period we did encounter Speckled Wood, and Green-veined White Butterflies.

     
    Sun. 10th. May 09. The absence the last few weeks of the many hundreds of Brent Geese that occupy Trawbreaga Bay during the Winter months has been noticed, which suggests that they have returned to their Arctic homeland in Greenland and Canada, but will return again in the Autumn. Then, as one species leaves another arrives, in this case its the Corncrake, that has been reported in the Malin Head area recently.
     
    Sat. 16th. May 09. We appeared to have been transported back in time to last January or February, when the temperature at times today just managed to reach double figures, and heavy hail impregnated showers forcefully driven by a strong north easterly wind, that left us with no choice other than to avail of the shelter afforded by the upper hide at the Inch Lake. The first thing to catch our attention from this vantage point was, that the little Island in the Lake was partially awash due to the unseasonable high water level that was lapping angrily over any obstacle in its path of destruction. The consequences of this, especially for the many Terns that use this piece of real estate for nesting is all too obvious, added to which, the recently raised half of the Islet intended for these great navigators has been commandeered by very large numbers of Black-headed Gulls. Every thing was not doom and gloom though, with lots of newly arrived Swifts, Martins, and Swallows, chasing with great aerial skills, what we imagined must be flies over the Lake, that deserved to be eaten for being out on a day like this. Staying close to the shore amongst the many Mute Swans that must be suffering the same fate as the Terns, were twenty four Greylag Geese, and in the water, Great-crested Grebes were also observed, as was lots of Tufted, Mallard, and Shelduck. We did break cover from the hide when the Sun made a brief but welcomed appearance and set off for Blanket Nook via the Farland Bank. At the Nook a Shoveler drake, was a welcome addition to our list, before the weather reverted to its winter like conditions that had us retreating to our homes.
     
    The talk by Sandy Alcorn, on "The Corncrake in Inishowen" to be held in Dunree Fort on Friday night next, the 29th. May, has been postponed until a later date, due to unforeseen circumstances.
     

    You are invited to attend " The Dawn Chorus " with the Inishowen Gospel Choir on Culdaff Beach, next Sunday May 31st. at 6.00 am.

     
    Some of the enthusiasts on board the Rathlin Ferry. A small number of the guillemots on a Stack. A close up view of three of the many Puffins. Enjoying a bit of rain at the R.S.P.B. centre
    Sat. 23rd. May 09. At our A.G.M. early last April, amongst suggestions of activities that the club might like to get involved in was, that a visit to Rathlin Island, with it's renowned Bird Sanctuary might be an appropriate venue, and today this became a reality with eleven enthusiasts setting off from many points in Inishowen, and further afield, to converge on Ballycastle on the Antrim Coast, from where we got the ferry to Rathlin. Our trip from early morning to this point was enjoyed in pleasant conditions with the forecast for even this to improve further from midday on, but contrary to predictions we were greeted by heavy showers, fortunately experienced whilst being bused by a most entertaining driver to the R.S.P.B. Bird Sanctuary situated on a towering cliff face with awe inspiring views of lofty sea stacks, where thousands upon thousands of seabirds, mostly Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Kittiwake, Shag, Black Guillemot, and Fulmer, were occupying every conceivable inch of space. This is a place well worth a visit. The Sun did reappear on our return bus journey from the Sanctuary, and while waiting for the Ferry and our voyage back to Ballycastle, we watched Rafts of Eider Duck, more Guillemot, and a few Red-breasted Merganser, all at close range and further to our left a number of Grey Seals were basking in the evening sunshine which accompanied us later as we made our way back to Inishowen, after a most enjoyable days experience.
     
    Tuesday 26th. May 09. On the 1st. of this month Terry Tedstone and George Mc Dermott sent to this page their observations of a wasps nest, and today we received from Stoycho Danev, from Crackna, Culdaff, an interesting series of photographs, showing the development of a nest from day one to day six. Stoycho also reports sighting Tree Creepers in the Culdaff area.
     
    Thursday 28th. May 09. Our club will be featured in a"Nationwide"television documentary on R.T.E. about the wildlife of Inishowen, and its breath taking scenic beauty. We were approached by the maker of the program Brian McVeigh to highlight some of the many species of fauna to be found in the Peninsula. So ably assisted by Martin Moloney, and later by Dermot Mc Laughlin, Danny Mc Laughlin, Terry Tedstone, and Paddy Mc Crossan. Brian got good footage of the great diversity that exists here, from Red Squirrel, Mountain Hare, the variety of Terns, Ducks, and Swans at Inch Lake, to our recent celebrity the White-tailed Eagle, and the smaller but none the less impressive raptors. While engaged in shooting the final footage at Malin Head today, we saw Arctic Skua, Buzzard, kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and the not so common Lesser Black-back Gull, Black Guillemot, fulmar, Chough, Rock Dove, Shag, and close to shore a Grey Seal was observed bottling, while further out, long lines of Gannets were hurrying in an easterly direction. A short time before our arrival a Basking Shark was reported not far from the rocky coastline. Not a bad list for one and a half hours nature watching. The program may be transmitted in about two months time, but we will keep you posted.
     
    Sat. 30th. May 09. Today may be remembered by many as the warmest day of the Summer, as it will be for our club outing, but we had the added excitement of recording the highest count of that beautiful work of art, namely the Painted Lady Butterfly. The last time we had numbers as near to what we had today may have been back in 1999. Our first sighting was this morning as we assembled at the Isle of Doagh Road, after which at Craigawannia, when the numbers of these fluttering beauties started multiplying, and later, with them flying past us in a constant stream as we sampled our cups of nectar. Then after the repast we drove through Fegart to Carrickabraghy, and for the few miles involved, the air was filled with the shouts of " There's More." After leaving the Isle of Doagh our next stop was at the Dune system at Lagg, where we had the same experience. This invasion came about due to the perfect conditions prevailing, with these migrants from southern climes being transported north on the warm winds blowing from continental Africa. Also present at both sites were reasonable numbers of, as the their names suggest, the diminutive Small Heath, and lesser numbers of Small Copper Butterflies. Another plus today was to have in our midst Anne Toland, who with her great knowledge of the local flora, was more than willing to answer any questions on the many wild flowers, and plants that makes the countryside the beautiful place that it is. All of which added to a most enjoyable short-sleeved Summers Day.
     
    Tue.2nd. June 09. A Hummingbird Moth was reported today, in glorious sunshine at Carndonagh by Paddy Mc Crossan.
     
    Sat. 6th. June. 09. In the absence of our regular scribe, who was away on holiday, Terry Tedstone stepped into the breach with the following report.
    Some of our members met up with Bob Aldwell and David Nash along with other butterfly enthusiasts from other parts of Donegal. Bob gave us an introductory talk at our meeting point at the Inishowen Gateway where another kind of count was taking place. Our group, gathered around a street light bedecked with Election posters, drew quizzical gazes from passing motorists wondering which party we were representing. Bob and David had some specimens of tiny Painted Lady caterpillars that had hatched in a thistle field in west Donegal. Boyd Bryce had also informed us that there had been hundreds of Painted Ladies in a field of thistles on his farm at Inch which we would later visit, but first we headed north to check a possible site for Marsh Fritillaries just south of Clonmany. Although the day was quite cold and breezy the sun came out and we saw a few Green Hairstreaks and Small Heaths but no Marsh Fritillaries but Bob and David said the habitat was perfect with an abundance of Devil's Bit Scabious so would be worth checking again on a warmer day. George McDermott also found and photographed a Mother Shipton moth which is the first he has seen in Inishowen.
    Our next stop was Crummy's Bay, Dunree which was very cold except at the northern end which is sheltered by the hills. Here we saw a few more Small Heaths.
    We then proceeded to Inch island to see if the Painted Ladies had laid eggs. As soon as we entered the laneway to the field in question, Painted Ladies were fluttering by. We looked for eggs on the thistles for about twenty minutes finding only a few single eggs until Bob himself found an area in the centre of the field that had about twenty eggs on each thistle.  Boyd Bryce then arrived and took us to view a field he has planted with a fallow crop for feeding birds and then a pond he made along the shore from which a few Shelduck rose as we approached. I think we were all in awe of the wonderful surroundings that he works in every day.

    Members today searching for the Painted Lady Butterfly on Inch Island. The Painted Lady Butterfly That has arrived here in great numbers this year.
     
    Sat. 13th. June 09. After the heavy overnight rain, we enjoyed quite pleasant conditions today with bright sunshine, and little wind, but with the temperature not exceeding seventeen degrees. Our first stop was at the dune system at Lisfannon in our quest for Butterflies, but that was not realized, with not many to be seen, just a few Painted Ladies, and fewer Green-veined Whites, and only one magnificent Cinnabar Moths with its prominent cerise colouring, and black markings glowing in the rays of the morning sun. At Inch Lake, worthy of note were the neatly trimmed grass verges at the car park and the new viewing platform, where we had a good look at the many birds on the water and the surrounding edges, the most interesting sighting was the large number of Greylag Geese, approximately thirty, and almost the same number of Bar-tailed Godwit, also present was a lesser collection of Wigeon, that are not usually found here at this time of year. There has been a report of a White-winged Black Tern, seen here recently, but alas, not for our eyes today, but we did recorded one of these rare visitors some years past. Later at Blanket Nook our attention was drawn to a large flock of Bar-tailed Godwit, that was intermingled with many Knot. It was also here as we walked along the bank towards our cars for home that we encountered a bevy of Painted Ladies! no, not that kind, but the Butterfly variety. We were a little disappointed at the small number of Butterflies to be seen in this normally good habitat today, perhaps it was due to the cold north winds of the past couple of weeks, coupled with the absence of the many wild flowers that would be expected at this time of year, but near the new bridge at the northern end of the Lake we recorded the beautiful Corncockle and equally appealing Tutson or as it's sometimes called Sweet Amber
     

    Sat. 20th. June 09. Today was a facsimile of conditions experienced last Saturday, with mostly grey skies, cool north winds, which saw the temperature never exceed fourteen degrees, and the ominous appearance in the not too far distance of what may have been heavy showers which fortunately we avoided all day. Our assembly point was in the Square, Clonmany, from where we set off for Binnion. Again as last week our objective was to record Butterflies, and though not many were present, we did see a few bedraggled Painted Ladies, that were showing the effects of hard living and perhaps too many late nights, as might be expected from Painted Ladies. The Common Blue was a different story, with its beautiful radiant pixels in pristine array, as was our first recorded Meadow Brown for 09. Also present was the less obvious but none the less wonderful Small Heath Butterfly. Not far from Binnion Hill a Buzzard was observed fleeing from the wrath of a party of angry rooks. Later at Craigawannia on the Isle of Doagh, after some welcome refreshments we continued our search, but here again Butterflies were in very short supply apart from more Small Heath, but we did record a Dark Green Fritillary, another first for this season. It was here also, that we saw a family party of Chough darting skillfully to and fro on the strong breeze, and shortly after a Peregrine Falcon made a brief appearance on the scene, before veering off in a southerly direction. Our final stop of the day was high up on the crest of Althalla Hill, Clonmany, to check for what now appears to be the non existent Marsh Fritillary. Perhaps one day it may make it's appearance. It did exist in the Peninsula many years ago, so here's hoping .

    Sat. 27th. June 09. We had a short sojourn in the Lagg, Knochamany, and Malin Head areas in the company of Brian Caffrey from Bird Watch Ireland, who is promoting the benefits to be derived both nationally and internationally, by the information to be gleaned by clubs and individuals as they perform regular counts of birds in ten kilometer squares in their own areas, which would then be submitted to the Bird Atlas 2007-11 Survey, the progress being made is readily available on their website www.birdatlas.net In our case we intend to report on the squares in the Inishowen Peninsula, some of which have had no official records as yet, a situation we hope to rectify shortly. We certainly enjoyed our few hours of warm, calm, and mostly sunny conditions, and with the ocean in a benevolent mood, the identification of birds far out on its placid silvered surface was made relatively easy. At Malin Head an other interest of ours was not forgotten, when we encountered large numbers of the beautiful Common Blue Butterfly, while earlier more Painted Ladies, and a few Meadow Browns were recorded. As with all things enjoyable, time passes quickly, and so our outing concluded.

    Thursday 2nd. July 09. Earlier this week a somewhat depleted club outing, due to members being on holiday, and some with other commitments, paid a visit to the beautiful Glenveagh National Park, where the highlight of the day was to be privileged to watch the young Eagles that had been reared here, hone their flying skills over this fairytale type landscape, and all enjoyed in a most pleasant warm gentle zephyr, and miraculously with the absence of those tortures midges. Also recorded in the Park were, families of Common Sandpiper, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Siskin, Chaffinch, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Redpoll, Wood Pigeon, Jay, and then the sighting of a Red-throated Diver, where we expect they may be breeding. On our return journey we witnessed a most spectacular sight at Fahan, near the Lookout where hundreds of Black-back, Herring, and , Black-headed Gulls, together with large numbers of Terns, Guillemot, and Razor Bill, were engaged in a feeding frenzy on the serene surface of the Lough, which had even the passers-by stop to have a look. A great end to a great day.

     
    Sat. 4th. July 09. In glorious sunshine we set off for the eastern side of the Peninsula, going by Effishmore, then through the dappled shade of Carrowmore Glen, and from there, up the scenic drive of Crucknanoneen, which translates as the " Hill of the Daises" but the predominant colours this morning was that of the gleaming purple flowers of the heather in the warm sunshine, mixed with the greens and raw umber of the surrounding foliage. On the southern crest of the hill, some time was spent watching a family of Kestrels being attended to by their attentive parents, while nearby a family of five or six Stonechats perched on a wire fence were receiving similar attention from their parents. Then from the northern brow of Craigawaddykeagh, time was spent observing more Kestrels, and a Buzzard, that was giving a master class in the art of hovering. On the sheltered hillsides, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, and Ringlet Butterflies, fluttered busily in pursuit of what Butterflies do. As the afternoon progressed, dark clouds approached from across the Foyle, to be shortly followed by a heavy downpour, which saw us head for lower altitude via Ballyratten, then on to Moville where at the upper pier we recorded many Black Guillemot resting on the back wall, unperturbed by the activity of fishermen tending to their boats and such. A record of all the birds seen today, including the previously mentioned were, Sky Lark, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Hooded Crow, Raven, Swift, Martin, Swallow, Meadow and Rock Pipit, Great-black Backed , Herring, Common, and Black-headed Gull, Jackdaw, and Starling. The information gathered in these areas will be forwarded to the Bird Atlas Survey, which for us makes the effort involved worth while.
     

    There will be a Talk and Power Point presentation on the Corncrake in Inishowen, by Sandy Alcorn. (Donegal Corncrake Field Worker) on Friday night 17th. July at 8.00.pm. in Fort Dunree, with the prospects of a walk after in the local area ,where the bird may be heard. (depending on weather conditions).

    Admission Free. All Welcome

     
    The Nationwide television program featuring our club will be screened on Sunday 19th.July at 6.30 p.m. on R.T.E. One.
     
    Sat. 11th. July 09. No report on todays activities due to unforseen circumstances.
     
    As part of the National Heritage Week activities, and at the request of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the Inishowen Wildlife Club are hosting a Whale Watch at Dunree Fort on Sunday 23rd. August 09. from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. With it's many high vantage points Dunree is an ideal venue for sea watching, so don't forget your binoculars or scopes.... Everyone welcome.......... Also running is an exhibition on Marine Heritage, and an Exhibition of Paintings by Maria Weir. For further information contact Dermot Mc Laughlin at 074 9361570.
     
    Sun. 23rd. Aug. 09.The Whale and Dolphin Watch organized for today, with great enthusiasm was at risk of cancellation, due to the bad weather forecast that was duly delivered in the afternoon. Because of this it was decided to watch from lower viewing positions, that offered a little more shelter from the rain to the surprisingly large number of people (almost three hundred) that turned up from Donegal, Derry, and as far away as Belfast and Dublin. No great Whales were recorded , but a number of Dolphins and Porpoises were observed at close quarters as they appeared to be feeding on large shoals of fish making their way into the Lough. During the event, tea and coffee was available,thanks to the hospitality of the Fort Dunree Committee. As evening approached our club Chairman Dermot Mc Laughlin, who worked hard in promoting the days activities, looked a happy man.
     

    Sat. 28th Aug. 09. Today dawned Sunny and calm, but much later it changed, with occasional showers wrapped in a cool breeze that popped up, as if performed by a magician from his magic hat at a children's party. We stopped at Burt Chapel to collected Anthony Robb, then past the mysterious stone fortress of Grianan Ailigh that dates back to 1700.B.C. from where we availed for a short time of the spectacular panoramic view of Lough Swilly and beyond. Next it was on to the pastoral haven that is Bogey, during this passage we recorded five Buzzards, and a couple of Sparrow Hawks, our overall buzzard count for today was seven. We were rather disappointed at the very small number of Butterflies found in the Bogey area, just a few Speckled Wood, that was all to be seen in this usually most productive habitat. Perhaps it was the absence of the earlier sunlight combined with the chill in the brisk breeze that had the still rich foliage tugging furiously to it's parent branches. How quickly things can change, Glentown Quarry near St. Johnston when we arrived was in the warm embrace of a benevolent Sun, that had many species and numbers of Butterflies fluttering with gay abandon over their food sources. included in this colourful pageant were, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Large White, and Peacock....... From here we made our way to Dooish Mountain, where we had a very special sighting when a Mink was observed being pursued by a Pine martin for a short period, before disappearing into the forest again..... With the showers getting more frequent, it was decided that Blanket Nook would be our final destination, where we recorded good numbers of Godwit, Redshank, Greenshank. Tufted and Mallard Duck. Greylag Geese are arriving in ever increasing numbers, soon to be joined by the many other species. Our very knowledgeably and observant Anthony Robb, claims to have seen a Water Rail in his area. Something to look out for on our next visit.

     
    Very Special Date For Your Diary

    We are blessed to be able to present the best experts in the field of Lepidopera in Ireland or perhaps the British Isles, when we can draw on the services of Bob Aldwell, David Nash, and last but not least, Frank Smyth.We are aware that all of the afore mentioned experts will be able to contribute to the evenings entertaintment .The theme of the event will be the discussion on why some Butterflies are common in the Inishowen Peninsula while others are not, and how we can improve their habitat by planting shrubs and flowers.It is worth saying that September, and and Early November, can be a good months for seeing Butterflies, some of which will be searching for safe and secure places to hibernate and so, see them through the cold chills of Winter, until next Spring, when the magical cycle will begin once more. This is all available in Fort Dunree, on..... Wednesday evening the 16th September..... at 8.00p.m. Tea and Coffee will be supplied through the usual generosity of the Fort Dunree Management Committee.

    Sat. 6th. sept. 09. For the second week in succession our assembly point was at Burt Chapel, where we were greeted by the usual pattern of unsettled weather with which we all have to endure... Our first port of call was Blanket Nook, where a cold breeze ruffled the grey tinted surface of the lake that had earlier in the night, welcomed a very alert flock of about three hundred Canada Geese, and a flock of thirty Cormorants. In the usual conglomerate of Bird life were Redshank, Greenshank, Godwit, Tufted and Mallard Duck, Little Grebe, and Great-crested Grebe. On our way along the old railway embankment to the northern end of the Nook, we had the pleasure of watching a Charm of Goldfinches shimmering in a shaft of late afternoon sunshine. Also in this area, we had what makes our involvement in wildlife so special, and that was the appearance of a couple of Kingfishers dazzling us with their piscatorial skills and their numerous fly pasts. With our outing slowly ebbing away a short visit was paid to Inch Lake, where an increase in the number of new arrivals, was recorded, but a more detailed account will be given on our next visit.

     
    Sat. 12th. Sept. 09. I often wonder if we fully appreciate a beautiful day, bathed in the warm serenity, of the wonderful environment that we are privileged to avail of. These were the thoughts of the many members that assembled at Carndonagh ,and from where we set off for Trawbreaga Bay. At the Meeting House the first thing to draw our attention was a large Dog Otter breaking the silvered stillness of the full tide, and where further on the northern shore a large flock of Ringed Plover were preparing to the launch an assault on the cornucopia of culinary treats soon to be revealed by the outgoing tide. More marine pillagers would soon join the rush for an early breakfast. The Green at the R.C.Church at Lagg is a popular place for having our break, and where today we were entertained by the unmistakable flying, and joyous call's of many Choughs. Upwards and onwards to an old hideaway, that was formally a Quarry in the town land of Keenagh, where shallow pools of dark water formed the perfect foil for the Colourful Damsel Flies, such the Common Blue, and the Large Red. Even more spectacular are the large Emperor, and Southern Dragon Fly in their multicoloured attire and their large glass-like wings. On the grasses surrounding the ponds the song of the Common Grasshopper, brought back memories of Summers long years past. Later at North Town, Malin Head, the surprise of the outing was the sighting of a Basking shark going in a west to Easterly direction, and further out traveling in the opposite direction were ten either Humpback or Pilot Whales. What a way to end our outing.
     

                    Inishowen Moth Group.             

    As part of National Moth Night 2009 Inishowen Moth Group invite everyone to come along to moth trapping at the wonderful location of Fort Dunree on the Night of  Friday 18th September start time 8.30pm.Traps will run all night and will be inspected on Saturday morning 19th at 10.00 am. The target  this year will be migrant species.

     
    Wed. 16th. Sept. 09. A most pleasant and enjoyable evening was the outcome of the illustrated talk and discussion, by Bob Aldwell, with contributions by Frank Smyth, both members of the Dublin Naturalists' Field Club. Their talk focused on the beautiful Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, it's habitat requirements, with the lovely blue flowered Devil's-bit Scabious it's only food source during it's caterpillar stage, when it hibernates in the web that it has spun at the base of the Scabious plant to see it through to Spring. The other specimen that has not been seen in the area is the Holly Blue. Frank Smyth then gave a short talk on the newly arrived Butterfly, namely the Comma. One of the first to report this creation in Donegal was our own very observant club member Anne Toland, who saw it in her garden in Letterkenny in 2002.....George Mc Dermott of the Inishowen Moth Group then concluded the evenings talks with his account of the rather rare moths that he and Karl King had recorded this year in the peninsula. and reminded every one of the setting of the Moth Traps, at Dunree on Friday 18th at 8.30.p.m. followed by the release of captives on Saturday morning at 10.00a.m. After all the talking and discussions, we switched to a social mode and enjoyed the refreshments, provided as usual by the generosity of the Fort Dunree management, including David Magee, the Mc Laughlin bros, and Terry Tedstone.
     
    George Mc Dermott, with some of our group The beautiful little Canary-shouldered Thorn Moth. Tea break at Urris Pier.

    Sat.19th. Sept. 09. " A Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness." was what sprang to mind when the morning started off with light showers and grey clouds draped over the Urris Hills, and Dunree Fort, but that was before some of our members joined with George, and Karl, of the Inishowen Moth Group to check, count, and release the eighteen species, of seventy one Moths captured in the light traps overnight. Amongst those of note were Autumn Green Carpet, Anomalous Black Rustic, and the beautiful little Moth called the Canary-shouldered Thorn. Before we left Dunree for our visit to Mamore Gap the Sun had emerged and dissolved the remaining early morning mist to reveal a countryside bathed in a kaleidoscope of soft, warm autumnal tones. At the foot of Mamore Gap we observed a Kestrel hovering in the gentle breeze, then plummet to the purple moorland below where it would have procured it's breakfast........At Lennan Pier , while having our break, a large charm of Goldfinch were recorded flying low over the rocky headland in a westerly direction, and at the pier, flocks of Rock Pippets scurried mouse-like around the rocks.....At Rockstown Harbor flocks of Ringed Plover, intermingled with large numbers of Sanderlings that were searching the tide line for any little morsel, perhaps sand hoppers or flies. Out on the open sea, rafts of Eider Duck, with the glistening white plumage of the males etched on the dark blue of a peaceful Ocean. ....We were reminded that perhaps the outing was approaching it's end, when some of our more senior members took a step back in time, when they were observed eating the plump ripe Blackberries, that were there in abundance, and then finishing off the contents of the little Vetch pods that were tantalizingly convenient for those with the best memory.

    Sunday 20th. Sept. 09. A Hen Harrier was seen in the Inch Lake area yesterday, and again today by Boyd Bryce. Boyd also states that a pair of Black Swans that have been frequenting this area for a number of years, have been observed with four Cygnets following in their wake.

     
    Sat. 26th. Sept. 09. For the second consecutive Saturday, the I-WeBS. count of Lough Swilly was called off due to some areas being unable to muster sufficient counters to participate. With this being the case our group assembled once more in Carndonagh where we met with new members, Donamarie Mc Fall, Rachel Duffy, and Jennifer Kimbal, who only arrived to our shores a few weeks past from Boston U.S.A. with her husband and young son. Our first stop was at the Culdaff Estuary, where we recorded eighteen Mallard Duck, three Grey Heron, and small number of Curlew, the majority of which together with other waders would be foraging in the local fields, due to the tidal conditions......At Dunmore, a large flock of Linnets were observed feeding on the seed heads of grasses and weeds on a disused patch of land...... Later at Redford the Sun appeared for a short spell to cast shadows of the intricate lattice of the heavily laden branches of the Hazel trees, on to the uneven surface of the little roadway that leads to the small rocky cove further down. It was here that three Red admiral, and numerous Speckled Wood Butterflies were recorded...... At Falmore , where large clumps of montbretia erupted like some pyrotechnic extravaganza that certainly brightened up the afternoon. Not far from this luminous experience we found what remained of a Wasps nest that had been savagely plundered by what we suspect was a Badger, with just a few of the inhabitance remaining to clean up what was left of this great work of art .....There was a remarkably small number of birds to be seen today, and only one Raptor made it's appearance, and that was a female Sparrow Hawk, which we think took pity on our plight, and presented it's self on the bare branch of a nearby fir tree as we made our way in a homeward direction.
     

    The Inishowen wildlife Club are hosting in Dunree Fort, a talk and slide show by Brian Caffrey, Project Coordinator for Bird Watch Ireland. Brian's talk will focus on the importance of the 2007-11. Bird Atlas Project, and how it can effect our local area with regards to the birds that have not been recorded in certain part of the Peninsula. The species and any indication of breeding of the bird that is submitted to the Atlas web site, can be checked on your computer the next day..... This will all be discussed on Friday Evening the 9th Oct. at 8.00.pm sharp............. You can be sure of a interesting evenings talk and discussion followed by some light refreshments.........All Welcome.

     
    Sat. 3rd. Oct. 09. With the Autumnal Equinox just past, the expected storms of winter were manifest today when the countryside was subjected to severe gales during the night, and throught today, and being forewarned of the impending storm we decided last night that Inch Lake would afford us the best shelter, with the luxury of the bird watching hides and on this occasion, as on so many others, the warmth, and shelter provided by the the old railway embankment, where many Peacock, Speckled Wood, and a lesser number of Small White Butterflies, all in pristine condition sat with their wings fully extended absorbing the warm rays of autumn sunshine. From within the upper hide we watched the large selection of birds that were close to our location, forced there by the north west gale and the turbulent water of the Lake. This was added to by the appearance of a Peregrine Falcon, that had all of the smaller birds, such as Red Shank, Godwit, Ringed Plover, etc, and the larger Mallard, Widgen, Teal , Pochard, Tufted Duck, airborne and scurrying to safety to avoid this fierce predator. At the northern end of the Lake we watched the proud Black Swan parents, parade their four Cygnets in their duskish plumage through the tall vegetation on the little islets that is the hiding place of many Duck and Waders..... In the afternoon, at Blanket Nook amongst the usual flotilla of Duck, Dab Chick, and Red Shank were the recently arrived Teal, Widgen, Bar- tailed Godwit, and a flock of Golden Plover........... Later, back near the Inch Lake we recorded a Buzzard, and on the pastures near the Slob Road a large flock of Canada Geese were counted, searching the stubble for the barley seeds that was missed by the mighty harvesting machines.......................Terry Tedstone reported seeing an Arctic Skua off Dunree Fort mid week.
     
    Brian delivering his illustrated talk to a section of the audience Having a cupa after the Bird Atlas Talk
     
    Sat. 9th. Oct. 09. Last nights well attended talk by Brian Caffrey on the Bird Atlas 2007-11 proved very successful, due in no small part to his infectious enthusiasm for his work. after a question and answer session we enjoyed the usual hospitality provided by the Fort Dunree Committee, led by David Mc Gee, and Brigid Gorry. Before dispersing it was decided that our rambling for today would be to the eastern side of the Peninsula, and so we set off from Carndonagh in pleasant Autumn conditions to Effish More, where we recorded large numbers of Blackbirds, Thrushes, Pigeons, Rooks,and Jackdaws. Next through the Carrowmore Glen, where the season of Autumn was laying it's carpet of multi coloured leaves in a random fashion around the many wonderful Sycamore, Ash, and Beech trees. Later at Cambery we recorded on a sturdy bush our first Buzzard of the day, that was basking in the morning sun, until it was rudely interrupted by a couple of cheeky Magpies. As the day wore on, our craving for a cup of tea and sandwich intensified, so we indulged in that great pleasure at the monument to the wreck of the La Trinidad Valencera, overlooking the beautiful Kinnagoe Bay. Our penultimate stop was Inishowen Head, near which we recorded another of the seven Buzzards that were recorded today, together with one Peregrine Falcon and a Merlin both near the Gleneely area. Finally at Stroove Bay we were entertained by a number of Seals some of which were quite content to rest serenely on the small rock outcrops not far from the beach, where some people were photographing them at very close range, while three or four others were playing briskly by jumping clear out of the water, and causing a lot of splashing by using their flippers. The depth of the water where this was being carried out was about two meters.
     
    Tuesday 13th Oct. 09. A gaggle of thirteen Pink Feet Geese was recorded by our very observant member Anne Toland, near Malin Town this evening. Her husband Jim, and Paddy Mc Crossan confirmed the sighting a short time later.
     
    An explosion of Autumn at Bogay. The Sun filtering through the morning mist at Bogay.
    Sat. 17th. Oct. 09. Out of a dark dank morning mist, slowly emerged a beautiful calm sunny day that belied the fact that it was mid October, and not a day that you would dream of in July. It was at Bogay that the eye of heaven peered through the thinning mist to reveal the colourful palette of Autumn on a peaceful countryside setting, and where we got a glimpse of a few Goldcrest, and a Robin skulking in a hedge near Bogay House, and a little later a Jay was seen seeking the privacy of a large oak, and where it might have a meal of it's favorite food, the acorn. During this period some of our group collected Chestnuts to bring home for their young family members...... At the newly cultivated pastures adjacent to Blanket Nook, we watched very large flocks of Lapwing, Oystercatcher, and Golden Plover, being closely studied by a pair of Buzzards from fence posts not far away , while another pair circled effortlessly over the adjoining wooded area...... At the Blanket Nook we were presented with a bonanza of birdlife, with hundreds of Duck, Greylag Geese, and to a lesser degree Turnstone, Redshank, Greenshank, Godwit, and with a couple of fly-pasts by a pair of Kingfishers, but the tick of the day was the Little Egret recorded at the southern end of the Lake..... From a very doubtful start this morning, we had an unbelievable day's birding, having noted fifteen Buzzard, six Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, and all the hundreds of Whooper Swans, the few Bullfinch, Sky lark, Redpoll, and last but not least the number of pristine Red Admiral Butterfly that added to the already colourful day.
     
    Sat 24th. Oct. 09. The seasons first I-Web count of Lough Swilly was undertaken today by a few stalwarts, namely Dermot Mc Laughlin, Danny Mc Laughlin, and Terry Tedstone, with most of our regular and reliable team being unavailable due to the demands of the holiday weekend.... The count started in atrocious weather conditions with heavy rain that was accelerated by the gale force wind that was coming from a south easterly direction on to our designated area which included Lisfannon, and Fahan Creek, where large numbers of waders, including Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, and a razorbill were recorded... There was a less than usual number of birds at the northern side of the Causeway Road, which is normally a good area for waders due to the rich feeding that is available in the large area of mud there, but not today due to the the rather high tide.... The count continued on Inch Island to as far as the pier, where the survey ended, with a very satisfactory recording for the day of specious and numbers...Near the the Causeway Road on the return journey a Hen Harrier was seen hunting over the reed beds in the Lake.
     
    Sat. 31st. Oct. 09, Due to the absence of our regular contributor, we were fortunate to have Jim Toland to send in a synopsis of an enjoyable days birding ..........Thanks Jim.
    Only four of us went out today. Started at Blanket Nook. Caught a glimpse of the Kingfisher moving up the river as we arrived. Lots of Mallard at the edge of the water. Among the duck there were a few Goldeneye and a Pintail. Whooper Swans arrived and took off in small groups while we were there. After the tea and sandwiches we headed south. Whooper's were on the move everywhere and we spotted one particularly large flock. We spotted one cock pheasant, no doubt waiting for the shooting season to begin. Our next stop was Newtown Quay. A lone Redshank waded among the seaweed while a solitary Grebe swam off the shore. Our final stop was at the Picnic Area below Manorcunningham. Here below us were birds galore, including numerous waders, geese, swans and ducks. It was just a pity that there is no proper access to the area as, even using the field scope, it was difficult in the changing light to identify them all. This is an area worth revisiting.

     
    Sat.7th. Nov. 09. Again this week we are very grateful to Jim Toland, who submitted the following report ......
    The five members who braved the weather forecast were rewarded with a wonderful outing. The heavy rain of the past few days left the fields around The Wildlife Reserve under a lake of water. An extra pump was installed in an effort to relieve the flooding. Among the regular Whooper Swans, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Widgeon and Tufted Duck, we spied a flock of Shoveler Ducks. After watching a couple of Buzzards, we followed a Hen Harrier moving through the fields of Inch Island. And then we spied a Little Egret feeding among the Herons and Cormorants. From the comfort of the hide, fortified by tea and sandwiches, we watched the large numbers of Coots, as flocks of Lapwing came and went. Before leaving for The Farland Bank we spotted a Kingfisher fly upriver and a Pheasant feed among the rushes. By this stage Martin Moloney was nearing the fifty mark in his count of the different species of bird we had encountered during the day. A Hare in a field near the road watched us as we made our way to The Farland Bank and no sooner had we arrived there, than we were greeted by three Otters, probably a mother and cubs and watched one of the cubs chew contentedly on an eel he had just caught. Soon the sun which had unexpectedly graced the day began to slip behind the trees. In the fading light we called it a day. There is no doubt that the Lough Swilly hinterland has one of the greatest varieties of wildlife in Ireland and today it showed it in all its splendor.
    Apart from the birds mentioned in Jim's report, Martin Moloney added the following list of small birds, which included the . Stonechat, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Wren, and Chaffinch.
     
    Sat. 14th. Nov. 09. Today the cold gnarled hands of winter held the stalwarts that braved the piercing northerly wind in an icy grip that lingered all day. What a change from last Saturday, when calm, sunny, warm, conditions were enjoyed, but these could not be replicated today when once again a visit was paid to the Inch Lake and Blanket Nook areas. At the former, a leaden sky was reflected on the rather turbulent and high Lake water, that did not have the number of birds that were evident here last week. At the new hide on the northern end of the Lake, a Buzzard was spotted on the Reserve boundary fence, while on the new scrapes recently developed in the grass and rush area to accommodate the waders that it is hoped to entice, had a Greenshank and a few Redshank investigating their new facility...... Our next stop was at Blanket Nook, where the Kingfisher brigade were on duty as usual, and later large flocks of Greylag Geese, and Whooper Swans made their noisy arrival but soon settled to restore the earlier tranquility. ....Sometime later in the large pastures adjacent to the Nook, we were presented with a cornucopia of bird life with hundreds of Geese, mostly greylag, and hundreds of Whooper Swans, and Lapwing, Redshank, Gulls, including, Common, Black-headed, Black-backed were also present, as were large numbers of Redwing, Blackbird, Song thrush, Starling. and to complete our count of seven Buzzard we watched as one contested the ownership of it's lunch with a Hooded Crow. ............ We have been notified by Allen Mee of the Kerry White-tailed Eagle Reintroduction Program that a White-tailed Eagle is in the Ramelton region of Donegal after leaving Isley off the Scottish Coast a few days ago.
     
    Herring on the Donegal coast, past present and future, by Maurice Clarke, Marine Institute
    Moville native, Maurice Clarke, who is responsible for herring research in the Marine Institute, will give a talk about Herring on the Donegal coast, past, present, and future. It may come as a surprise that Buncrana was once the biggest fishing port in Ireland. In the 1920s, a huge fleet of boats from Ireland, England and Scotland fished the abundant herring schools off the north coast. By the 1930s, the fishery died out. What happened to the herring at that time, and how have the herring fisheries developed since? There is so much about herring that we still do not know. For example, how does the movement of small herrings into Loughs Foyle and Swilly coincide with what is happening out in deep waters, and what is the connection between Donegal and Scottish herring? These questions are important, as fishermen and scientists currently try to work out how to manage the Irish herring stock for the future. This very interesting talk will take place on Friday the 27th. Nov. at 8.00pm. in Dunree Fort. Admission free. Everyone Welcome. In particular it is hoped that those who have worked, or have family connections in the fishing industry come along and share their knowledge.
     
    Sat. 21st. Nov. 09. It was with a degree of trepidation that we decided to go to Malin Head, and see what might have arrived from colder regions to spend the winter in our milder climate, but today a forecast filled with foreboding, including gales and torrential rain expected, they might be disappointed by what awaited them..... On arrival at Trawbreaga Bay, there was no obvious sign of bird life, due mainly to the very high tide, that would have dispersed the birds from the shoreline to the adjacent fields. At the car park to the rear of the Malin Town Parochial Hall large numbers of Teel and Mallard Duck were recorded. It was here that local wildlife enthusiast Liam Mc Laughlin informed us that a Little Egret had been seen in the area recently.......... Later at Knockglass a Buzzard was observed in a field feeding on worms that had been brought to the surface by the heavy rain of the past number of days, also in this field a large flock of Starling were perhaps enjoying the same menu. Then at Port Camman, we watched a Kestrel hover skillfully in the strong gale over the headland near the pier while seeking out its prey far below....... To crown our outing we recorded six hundred Barnacle Geese resting peacefully at Ballyhillin...... As the day wore on and we headed for home, we were presented with an extraordinary display of exotic cloud sculptures, from great balloons of billowing steam-white structures that were countered by banks of artistically formed cloud, varying in colour from dark grey to a variation of cobalt blue, all seen in Natures great Studio.
     
    Sat. 28th. Nov. 09. Lasts nights illustrated talk by Maurice Clark on the Herring Fishing Industry off the Donegal coast, with particular emphasis on the trade in Buncrana, was very well received by the large number, from Moville, Greencastle, Glengad, Malin Head, Urris, and other parts of the Peninsula. After a very interesting, and at times humorous question and answer session, everyone availed of the hospitality that was provided by members of the Fort Dunree committee, to whom we say a big thank you.
    Our destination today was the Lisfannon and Fahan Creek areas where we on behalf of Bird Watch Irelands I-Web Survey spent a number of very cold, frost impregnated hours that were accompanied by an ever increasing blanket of fog, which impaired our visibility to a high degree, but with a great number of counters engaged we managed to cover our designated areas. with reasonable results.
     

    Sat. 5th. Dec. 09. Forecasts of rain and wind moving up from the south directed us to the relative shelter of Inch Reserve. Flocks of Swans and Greylag Geese were feeding in the adjacent fields and a lone buzzard perched on a nearby tree as we arrived. Amid the bands of fog, a bright ray of sunshine beamed down on the lake. From the platform we watched about 800 Lapwing give an impressive flying display. Then among the trees to the east a Sparrowhawk was having a difficult time from  some Magpies. We watched the encounter for about 20 minutes as the magpies harried the hawk from tree to tree. We never discovered the outcome. Among the usual Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Pochard we saw two males and a female Shoveler. A large flock of Coot were swimming in the middle of the lake. On our way to the hide Blackbird, Redpoll, Tit, Goldfinch and Goldcrest darted along the treelined path. Fortified by mugs of tea and sandwiches we saw a Smew and and a Goldeneye swim along the shore passing Herons, Canada Geese, Cormorants, Shelduck and  a Merganser. As a Buzzard drifted overhead our final sighting of the day was of two otters playfully swimming while the feathered population kept a watchful eye. Its no wonder we find more nature lovers visit this unique area.  ................ Again, thanks to Jim Toland for today's report.

     
    Sat. 12th. Dec. 09. The pleasure derived from our study of the local wildlife was exemplified today by the pleasant sunlight that exposed in sparkling detail the beauty of Inishowen, this together with the stillness of the morning air that was softened by the surprisingly mild temperature for mid December, all of which augmented the serene atmosphere experienced at Glasha this morning, where large numbers of birds were to be seen feeding on a somewhat distant shore line, due to the very low tide. Amongst the birds recorded here were, Brent Geese, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Mallard, and Widgeon Duck, Ringed Plover, Red Shank, Green Shank, Black-backed, Herring, and Black-headed Gulls, and Godwit, but the bonus of the morning was the three fields at Fegert on the Isle of Doagh, seen through our scopes, that contained at least six hundred Barnacle Geese....... At Mc Sheffrey's Bridge we recorded a flock of Lapwing that reflected a mirror image in the wet sand as they enjoyed their mid morning snack........ The Meeting house car park at Lagg was where we emulated our Lapwing friends and enjoyed a snack and hot beverage, and while so doing watched a flock of Godwit nearby, that was later joined by an other flock from the Isle of Doagh side of the Bay, and also the sight of a Kestrel as it hurried in an easterly direction no doubt also looking for it's lunch....... Then it was off to the Culdaff Estuary where we recorded, Mallard, Teal, and Widgeon , a few Little Grebe, Redshank, Greenshank and more Curlew, but the highlight of the visit was watching a Peregrine Falcon for five minutes or more, as it flew to a great height and then disappeared into the great blue yonder. We concluded our mid December outing with an enjoyable and leisurely walk down the denuded treelined lane to the shore at Redford, where on our way back up we recorded a Sparrowhawk disrupting a roosting of Starlings that had just settled down for the evening.
     

    Sat. 19th. Dec. 09. No outing today. It was decided last night to call off today's outing due to a severe weather warning issued for this weekend. It also allows some members to attend to domestic duties with Christmas just a few days off. .....See you all on the 28th. inst.

    The following report was received this evening from members Dermot and Danny Mc Laughlin who braved the forecast and had a brief but rewarding visit to some parts of their local patch. Starting at the Buncrana pier and extending to the marina at Fahan, they recorded four hundred and thirty Dunlin, twelve Turnstone, twenty Ringed Plover, eight Redshank, thirteen Sanderling, one Great Northern Diver, and one hundred and fifty Oystercatcher. Driven by this success they paid a visit to the Binault side of Inch Island which was in relative shelter from the biting cold wind, here again large numbers of birds were recorded including one male Smew, three Slovenian Grebe, two Great Crested Grebe, one thousand plus Seagull, of various species. In the fields six hundred Rooks were noted as were three hundred Fieldfare, and further on were, sixty Tree Sparrow, seven Bullfinch, and to conclude two Buzzard.

    The Annual Christmas Outing, will be on Monday 28th. Dec. with assembly at 10.00. am. on the causeway road to Inch Island. Everyone welcome, Don't forget something to keep out the cold, or even the rain!!! also a hot beverage and snack.... Happy Christmas to everyone, and to those in foreign parts and nearer home that enjoy our web site.
     
    Some of the Club members watching the Greylag Geese from the Slob Road Near days-end at the new footbridge and hide at Inch Lake
    Monday. 28 th. Dec. 09. The symptoms of the dreaded Cabin Fever was quickly dispelled as we made our way through a snow and frost encrusted countryside, that twinkled in the morning sunlight, like the trillions of stars in some great Cosmos. On our arrival at the rendezvous point on the Causeway road, it was noticeable that the Inch Lake at this point was frozen to a great depth, so not much time was spent here other than to renew some old acquaintances and to welcome a new member Brian Hegarty, who braved the very icy roads all the way from Sion Mills in County Tyrone. Our next stop was at the far end of the Slob Road Straight , where in one field we recorded Five Hundred Greylag Geese , while in an adjoining field were one hundred and sixty Whooper Swans. Next it was on to the Lake area, where from the viewing platform we watched in brilliant sunshine the many birds on the mirror like surface, that had resisted the very severe freezing conditions of the past few weeks. Recorded were all the usual species of Duck, together with Canada Geese, Great crested and Little Grebe, Heron, Gulls, and a Water Rail, and in a nearby field a flock of Skylarks were recorded. There was a marked absence of small birds with just a few Chaffinch, a Tree Creeper, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Great Tit, and a few very bold, company seeking Robins. This was somewhat countered by the good number of Raptors, including Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, and Peregrine. At the end of a beautiful Christmas outing we recorded thirty five Species, a number well down on previous years for the same event, but we only did our count on a small area of the Inch Lake Wildlife Reserve........... A Happy New Year to all our members and friends, as we say goodbye to 2009.