Monday, 21 December 2015

Lough Sheelin's shores

Despite the snow and the rain and the cold, a brave few souls set off to explore the sites along the shores of Lough Sheelin.
The snow of the previous days had melted thankfully but the sky was grey so visibility was quite poor.

Michael has great local knowledge and had planned a route around the lake – from Crover to Mountnugent, stopping at Ross Castle and Sailors' Garden. We also visited Lough Kinale and Bracklagh. 
Though we started off slowly, with only a bird or two on view from the hotel grounds, this recorder soon found herself rapidly turning the corners of her book to remember our sightings! 
A goldcrest calmly flitted from branch to branch in front of us, allowing us to get a great close-up of this tiny bird. A flock of long-tailed tits took flight from trees near the water's edge.
Mute swans, wigeon, gadwall, teal, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, cormorant, great crested grebe, little grebe, grey heron, an enormous group of coot (AKA a cover of coot!)  numbering around a thousand according to one estimate, and water rail all were on the water on the lakes.
In a field overlooking Lough Kinale we spotted some redwing and fieldfare along with starling and chaffinch.

Sadly, we weren't the only ones watching the birds; a hunter had set up decoys and a whirling device on the lake and as we watched some tufted ducks in flight coming to join the flock we heard the shots and saw them fall. 
Many thanks to Michael for leading the event, it's one definitely worth revisiting in spring. 
P.S if I'm missing any birds from our count please let me know!