Friday, 31 August 2018

Today at North Strangford Lough...

Following on from Kendrew's comments, I was up in Newtownards today and took the chance to scan out for these newly arrived birds at the north end of Strangford Lough.
Not ideal conditions - very windy, with choppy seas, but counted 243 (that sounds like a very accurate count - which it's not!!). Normal sort of numbers for the last day in August.
These birds will prove difficult to identify individually for about ten days or a fortnight, as they tend to remain on the water on the in-coming tide, and follow the edge (unfortunately mainly in the water) on the way out. From then on they are forced to forage more on the inter-tidal mudflats, and that is when our main ring-reading effort there must concentrate over the following month/six weeks.

The Brent are back in town !

Breaking news - reports just received (30th August) from Lough Foyle and NW Strangford are the first we have heard of Brent being back for the winter. Right on cue as we know typically birds start to leave the breeding grounds at the very end of August. These ones may well have by-passed Iceland entirely. 

As is usual, numbers will build over coming weeks in western Iceland and slowly build in Ireland too. But the majority of birds through September will be along the western Icelandic coast, feeding up on Zostera there and avoiding the odd White-tailed Eagle and Gyrfalcon.