The Inch Winter Birds

Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo
http://en.wikipedia.org.jpg

A few of these large prehistoric-looking fishing birds are usually perched somewhere about the lake, mostly in winter.


Curlew

Numenius arquata
http://www.birdwatchireland.ie(John%20Carey).jpg

Curlew in Ireland have declined as a breeding bird to very small numbers. But in winter there are still plenty of birds to be seen, around the lake and in the fields.


Golden Plover

Pluvialis apricaria
http://visitcarlingford.com

Golden Plover and Lapwing flocks often associate in winter. When in the air, the gold and silver Golden Plover are always high above the broad-winged black and white Lapwing.


Greenland White-fronted Goose

Anser albifrons flavirostris

Lough Swilly as a whole is Ireland’s No. 2 site for this rare goose, which winters exclusively in Ireland and Scotland. Mostly they are not present at Inch during the day, but large numbers can roost on the lake at night.


Hen Harrier

Circus cyanea

Occasionally in winter a fairly large bird-of-prey can be seen slowly quartering the ground. These are Hen Harriers; the female brown with a white patch above its tail, but the male with the pale grey colouring of a gull. Other large raptors seen on rare occasions are the Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus and Osprey Pandion haliaetus.


Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus
http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/.jpg

Golden Plover and Lapwing flocks often associate in winter. When in the air, the gold and silver Golden Plover are always high above the broad-winged black and white Lapwing.


Peregrine

Falco pergrinus

If large numbers of birds suddenly fly out from the marshes, they have usually been spooked by a hunting Peregrine. A bird will often spend much of the winter here.


Pink-footed Goose

Anser brachyrhynchus
http://www.stevenround-birdphotography.com

The dozen or so birds Pink-feet usually hidden among large flocks of other geese are about half of the total that winter in Ireland. These birds breed in Iceland, and winter mainly in Scotland.


Ruff

Philomachus pugnax
http://www.naturephoto-cz.com

A few Ruff pass through Inch in autumn, usually seen on the edge of the mud, or in short grass. Unfortunately they don’t have their amazing breeding plumes at this stage.


Scaup

Aythya marila
http://sanfrancisco.about.com

Scaup are very like Tufted Duck. Numbers have fallen over many years and only a dozen or so continue to winter at Inch.


Teal

Anas crecca
http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/common-teal-photo-14016.html

This small duck is the most numerous of many species that can be seen in winter. Its presence in marshy vegetation can be detected by its characteristic whistles.


Water Rail

Rallus aquaticus
http://en.wikipedia.org

This skulking relative of the Coot is not likely to be seen, but any strange calls coming from the marshes at dusk or in the night, including one that sounds like a pig squealing, are likely to be it.


Whooper Swan

Cygnus cygnus

Very large numbers of Whooper Swans arrive from their breeding grounds in Iceland in October/November, and can be seen on the lake and in the large fields on the levels. Only a few non-breeding birds will be seen around the lake in summer.


Wigeon

Anas penelope
http://en.wikipedia.org

Wigeon is a colourful duck which can be seen upending in shallow water, or grazing on grass on near the water’s edge. It comes here in winter from Iceland.