Winter birds at Murlough
Dundrum Bay is an important wintering area for quite a few different birds who travel from inland rivers and lakes, as well as some who travel from Iceland, Scandinavia and the Artic regions beyond.
Most of the wintering birds in the bay obtain their food by diving for it, surviving on the shellfish and crustaceans which live on the shallow sea bed as well as the fish in the bay. Important species for the diving ducks include cockles, muscles, tellins, clams, shore crabs and heart urchins. For the fish eaters, food items include sand-eel, herring and flatfish.
The team at Murlough counts the winter birds each year to keep an eye on the populations and feed into wider research on wintering birds in the UK and Ireland.
As well as the varied winter ducks, Strangford Lough hosts around 75% of the world’s population of light-bellied Brent geese each year. Waders like curlews and oystercatchers can also be spotted, along with our resident herons.