Freshwater areas are great for wildlife watching in winter because they
provide warmer, safe havens for many species.
The Nature's Calendar team
provides an expert guide into activities that you can get involved with in freshwater
- these elegant birds love freshwater habitats|
spotting - Lough Neagh
are two species of swans on Lough Neagh - Mutes and Whoopers.
But how can
you tell which bird is which when they are in flight and it's hard to see them
* Both birds are large in size
but the Whoopers have evolved as great flying machines able to fly long distances.
have even been reports of these birds flying at altitudes as high as Mount Everest,
Whoopers are a noisy bunch - they
can do the 800 mile trip from Iceland in one go - and as a result their wings
don't make a sound, but they are very vocal, honking away to each other.
Whoopers have a distinctive yellow bill compared with the Mute Swan with its orange
* Mute Swans are silent vocally but have
noisy bodies because they're not so used to flying.
for the sound of their wings slapping and flapping - they make much more of a
throbbing sound because more physical effort is involved.
Also watch for the swans feeding on the lough and surrounding farmland.
These wild birds can be a little skittish so try using a telescope which is that
the best bit of kit for seeing them.
Herons are visitors to many of our waterways but they
can be surprisingly elusive, so follow a few tell-tale clues:
Pellets under the trees are a good sign that herons are around or have been in
* Look for large nests in the trees, and birds flapping about.
Be careful when you're visiting a heronry - the adults often throw up their stomach
contents when disturbed!
* A good place to find Grey Herons is Coney Island
on Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.