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County Down

Black Tailed Godwit Limosa limosa ©Ian Dickey Website

Much more diverse than Antrim, Down contains part of Belfast Lough, the whole of perhaps the best of all (Strangford Lough) and part of Carlingford Lough – the other side of which is in Republic of Ireland. A lot of the landscape is composed of glacially formed drumlins, compared to a basket of eggs when seen from the air. In the south the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea, with an outlier in Slieve Croob to the north.

Top Sites

Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve

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Waders, wildfowl and rarities…

Castle Espie WWT, Strangford Lough

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An introduction to the wildfowl of Strangford Lough

Copeland Bird Observatory

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9 Seabirds and migrants

Dundrum Bay and Inner Bay

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Waders, wildfowl, divers

Quoile Pondage NNR

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Wildfowl and waders. Good hide and information centre nearby on main road from Downpatrick to Strangford


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Has produced Dotterel and American Golden Plover with the flocks of Golden Plover. Quail has been noted.


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Noted for scarce gulls


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Scarce gulls


Useful Reading

Where to Watch Birds in Ireland

by Paul Milne & Clive Hutchinson - Paperback - 336 pages (2nd Edition 2010) Christopher Helm £18.99

ISBN: 9781408105214

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Peninsula Charters

Gerard Young - Bird watching boat charter available strangford lough from Feb 2011 large boat local skipper, contact 07889761493 - call for enquiries or email: peninsula.charters@gmail.com

Kilhorne Bay Boats

Boat Trips

Kilhorne Bay Boat Charter has been launched to provide a range of family fun cruises, marine sightseeing and wildlife watching. It’s something different and is a welcome addition to the range of leisure opportunities in the Province – not just for tourists but also for local people as well…

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

The Old Schoolhouse Inn


Situated at Castle Espie, beside the beautiful scenery of Strangford Lough the Old Schoolhouse Inn is a superb place to stay, relax and enjoy your stay in Northern Ireland…

Edenvale House


Edenvale House Portaferry Road, Newtownards, Co. Down Approached up a long driveway, Edenvale House is a small Georgian country house located above Strangford Lough. It stands in its own grounds surrounded by fields, and is immaculately kept, both inside and out. Diane Whyte is a welcoming host, and the atmosphere is informal and relaxed…


Mourne Game and Wildfowl Conservation Association


Mourne Game and Wildfowl was set-up to facilitate and to enhance the area of Mill Bay, and surrounding areas which is just out side Kilkeel, Co.Down, Northern Ireland. This is where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. The Club is affiliated to BASC [The British Association for Shooting and Conservation] and that the mandatory Duck Stamp is supported by all members. And we gladly accept the emphasis being put on habitat protection.

North Down Ringing Group

Hugh Thurgate, 24 Church Court, Clough, Downpatrick, BT30 8QX

Castle Espie Birdwatching Club

Dot Blakely - dotbirdblakely@gmail.com WWT Castle Espie Centre, Ballydrain Road, Comber, Co Down,


Copeland Bird Observatory


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Welcome to the web site of the Copeland Bird Observatory. We hope you find the contents interesting and useful. We would like to attract new visitors. Whether you are a birdwatcher or bird ringer, someone with an interest in other plants or animals, a fan of islands or you'd just like to visit and see the place, we'd be delighted to welcome you to the Observatory and give you a tour of the Island…


Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Reserve - Castle Espie


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Set on the banks of the stunning Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland where almost the entire population of Light-bellied Brent Geese reside during the winter months. For this reason the Castle Espie foreshore is part of the Strangford Lough Ramsar site. Throughout the year this tranquil and friendly centre is a real delight and a must for the whole family…

Strangford Lough


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Strangford's rich marine life attracts a vast variety of birdlife. The area is a wetland of international importance supporting some 25,000 wildfowl and 50,000 waders. The Lough is a bird sanctuary and wildlife preserve, now designated a Marine Nature Reserve under the protection of the Department of the Environment. Thousands of Brent geese winter here and Greylag and White-fronted geese visit from the Downpatrick marshes. Oystercatchers, Curlews and other waders throng the saltmarshes…


Peregrine's Bird Blog


Craig Nash's Birding BLOG from Northern Ireland…

Other Links

Birdwatching in County Down


List of sites: The sea loughs of County Down - Belfast, Strangford and Carlingford - are fine spots for studying water birds in winter. The rocky east Ards sea coast is good for waders. The Mourne Mountains have red grouse and there are a variety of raptors to be seen above reed-fringed lakes and over forest parks…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Craig Nash


Excellent bird portraits…