Wildlife

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Strangford Lough hosts a variety of habitats which house a wide variety of marine life, farm animals and insects.

More than 2,000 marine animal and plant species have been counted within the area.

Birds

Brent geese on the lough © Craig McCoy

Brent geese on the lough

The mild winter climate, sheltered shores and rich feeding all combine to make Strangford Lough the perfect over wintering location for more than 70,000 seabirds that migrate here from northern latitudes. These include over 75% of the entire population of Light Bellied Brent Geese that make the epic journey from Arctic Canada.

Marine life

Tiny common starfish can be found resting on rocks along the shore © Craig McCoy

Tiny common starfish can be found resting on rocks along the shore

There are over 2000 different types of marine creatures living within Strangford Lough. If you venture down to the shore at low tide, you will be amazed at the diversity of life you can discover lurking within the rock pools. Some of the best shorelines to explore include Ballyhenry Island and Kearney Village.

Marine mammals

Seals can often be found basking along the shoreline © Craig McCoy

Seals can often be found basking along the shoreline

Both Common and Grey Seals can be seen here all year round. The best places to spot them are at Cloghy Rocks and Granagh Bay; on either side of the entrance to the lough. Other marine mammals to keep an eye out for are porpoises and otters. Earlier in the year, a humpback whale swam through the Narrows.

Woodland

Bluebells growing at Killynether Woods © Craig McCoy

Bluebells growing at Killynether Woods

Around the shores of the lough, we manage a number of interesting woodlands. Killynether, below Scrabo Tower, has a terrific display of woodland flowers every spring. Nugent’s Wood, at Portaferry, is one of the last refuges for the native red squirrel. The big estates of Mount Stewart and Castle Ward deserve a day’s exploration in themselves.

Our farmland

Common spotted orchids growing in a field © Craig McCoy

Common spotted orchids growing in a field

We ensure our farmland is managed in a way that encourages wildlife. At Gibbs Island, you will see a meadow of wild flowers, teeming with butterflies, bees and other insects. Ballyquintin is one of the best places to spot Irish hares and flocks of farmland birds such as finches, linnets, tree sparrows and skylark.

Sit back and listen to the sea

The sounds of the seashore

The sounds of the seashore

If you've visited Strangford Lough you'll know that one of the most relaxing sounds is of the waves crashing against the shore.

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