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Sightings :
Sighting Ref : IB105210
Sighting Date : 31 Jan 18
Common Name : Birding Opportunity
Scientific Name : Initial Sighting
Location : Lough Beg
County : Derry
Number Seen : 1
Principal Observer(s) : Chris Murphy Not Specified
Reported By : Not Specified
Comments : I was up at Lough Beg yesterday. Not strictly birding so felt lucky to see the long-staying Glossy Ibis. This picture of 220 Whooper Swans was taken from Aughrim Hill (close to where the Monty’s was in May). Where the hedgerow has been cut and replaced with a fence is the footprint of the proposed route of the A6 through the Lough Beg-Toome Complex, Ireland’s most important Whooper Swan site and the 3rd most important in UK. More than thirty numbered swanfields (this is field no. 723) will be impacted by this contested, off-line route. The habitat of many other wet grassland species: Bewick’s Swan (should they ever return to Ireland), Icelandic Greylags, Lapwing, Icelandic Golden Plover, Curlew, Icelandic Whimbrel and Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit will be also be impacted. These are the very species most in need of our help. ‘The Beg' has possibly the best studied and most diverse avifauna of any freshwater lough in Ireland; in 2016 five pairs of Whoopers nested successfully, as did Little Egret and Peregrine Falcon. Conservationists like us must step up to the challenge of trying to convince the NI government that there is another way to make improvements to the A6, a better way than to spend tens of millions on replacing something so priceless with another road that will be worthless within 60 years. This is what the 18-month long fight through the courts has been all about; the Supreme Court’s decision whether to hear the case is due soon. Meanwhile, the campaign to have Lough Beg: Heaney Country recognised by UNESCO as Northern Ireland’s second only World Heritage Site will be launched on World Wetlands Day, this Friday 2 February from 2pm at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. More events are planned for Lough Beg on Saturday, see below. Please come along if you are free, bring a friend and give these initiatives all the support you can. Regards, Chris Murphy
Photos :
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Photographer(s) : © Chris Murphy
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