Autumn at Murlough

Experience the changing seasons at Murlough National Nature Reserve

This year there were very noticeable early signs of a summer waning and autumn advancing. The dumbing down of summer green was soon coloured up by the many shades of browns and yellows – deepening as the weeks went by.

As if confirming these changes the advancing guard of migrating waterfowl have already made their way to our shores. Curlew, Oyster-catchers, Redshanks – breeding season long over, building in numbers to adorn the inter-tidal world. They will be joined by Brent Geese, Dunlins, Godwits, Mallard, Wigeon and Teal ducks.
Pick a good stage of the tidal cycle for better viewing, generally when the tide is not too far out or too full. An exception to this can be when the birds are denied feeding amongst the bay’s muds – birds will sit it out on high water roosts, digesting the previous meal….. and waiting for the next.

Awash with colour

The warmth of September days seemed to extend our native flora - the hazy blue of Devils-Bit Scabious, and the pinks and purples of Bell heather. Our heathland was an absolute riot and awash with colour, seen from the top of a dune it gives a great sense of how extensive this important habitat is.
Top tip then is to visit as much as you can over the next few autumnal weeks and see and feel the changes. Vary the times of the day - the light can be so different. Pick a day of wild and blustery weather, and catch a wind blowing against the flow of the emptying inner bay’s channel. Here you can delight in a mad and chaotic sea breaking white upon the sand bars….. one of the natural myths and legends of Ireland - the wild spectacle of the roaring of Tonn Ruray.