Lough Foyle is famous for its autumn migrants with
wildfowl and waders in abundance including Whooper Swans and Brent Geese.
autumn the birds are here for one thing - the mud and food which the Lough provides.
Foyle - top autumn bird watching spectacle. RSPB Images/ Andy Hay.|
Foyle is the name given to the estuary of the River Foyle - it starts where the
Foyle leaves Derry.
The lough separates the Inishowen peninsula from Northern
There is a saying, that when one is on a boat on Lough Foyle, one
is at the only place in the world where north is south, and south is north.
makes sense when you realise that the Republic of Ireland is referred to as 'The
South' in Northern Ireland, while 'The North" is a common term for Northern
Whooping good time
Foyle is one of the best places in the British Isles to see the amazing Whooper
The birds arrive in mid autumn following their long and arduous journeys
In late autumn you can see large numbers of waterfowl, including
Brent Geese and Whooper Swans.
These expert flying machines are easy to
spot as they fly overhead - their wing beats are almost silent.
Mute Swans are much noisier - you'll be able to hear the clapping of their wings
as they fly above you.
These migrant birds use Lough Foyle as a restaurant,
grazing on the farmland adjacent to the lough.
The geese and swans pick
over the arable fields feasting on waste potatoes, sugar beet and other arable
mud flats of the Roe Estuary exposed at low tide appear dull and lifeless - but
underneath they hide a secret.
Concealed by the mud are vast numbers of
small seashore animals such as lugworms, shrimps, ragworms and periwinkles.
are also large beds of mussels and extensive areas covered in a plant known as
All these are the food sources that act as a magnet for many
of the thousands of migrating waders, ducks, swans and geese that stop over on
Lough Foyle each winter.
The geese and swans also pick over the arable fields
feasting on waste potatoes, sugar beet other arable crops.
the railway bridge is an area of salt marsh vegetation - a habitat not common
Here you can watch the Lapwings' aerobatic display in early summer,
or hear the plaintive cry of the Curlew on a misty autumn morning.
are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of an Otter hunting crabs in the shallow
courtesy and copyright of RSPB Images, Sue Tranter and Andy Hay.