Sunday, 24 September 2017

Now Is The Time To Get Out Ring-reading at Strangford Lough....

When birds first arrive on Strangford Lough at the end of August/early September, ring-reading is very difficult, because the arriving birds are nervous, and prefer to follow the out-going tide edge looking for the eel-grass. On the massive Northern mudflats here, this can make them nigh on impossible to see, let alone read rings!! Temperature is also a major factor, and you will hear us "regulars" muttering "heat-haze" under our breath as a problem.
Once this phase is over, however, the birds are forced ever further up the foreshore, even at low tide, to seek food. Combined with the fact that they become acclimatised to the low-flying aircraft practicing their take-off and landings out of Newtownards Airport, there comes a period of about a month or six weeks when they become much more accessible to the telescope. As in the title, now is the time to get out and read rings!! 75%+ of the population will be staging through Strangford Lough, possibly heading on to other small sites where there is no chance of their being picked up and read, so now is the important time for those of you who can make it here to see this great spectacle (30,000+ birds in early October!!), to get out and help!!
Current observations support the notion that this is going to be another VERY poor (<1%) breeding season.
Elsewhere, Cian Merne reports that he did a sweep of North Dublin Bay and Baldoyle Bay this morning, and couldn't find a single brent goose!!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

First Geese Reported From Wales...

Derek Grimwood  - 5 brent at The Gann, Pembrokeshire on 18/09/17, but they didn't stay long...
At Strangford Lough today, Alex Portig scanned nearly 2,000 geese at the North End without finding a single juvenile. I scanned about 1,600 geese from the Montgomery Hide and only found two families, one with 4 young, the other with 2. At Horse Island, amongst relatively small numbers, there were again two families, one with 6 juveniles, the other with 1. As is usual at this time of year, the families tend to be located at the edge of, or away from, the main flocks.
So, there are continuing signs that it may have been a poor breeding season...

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Update on Numbers at Strangford Lough...

Alex Portig has been out estimating numbers at Strangford Lough again today - hats off to you, Alex, and a big thanks!! He reports the following:
North End: Very rough count of about 7,000
Castle Espie: 1,700
South of Castle Espie Pier: about 100
Greyabbey: 700
Hence a very approximate figure for the total of 9,500