Birdwatching in Cloughey
The South end of the beach is an excellent place to see a wide variety of wading and sea-birds. They tend to gather when the tide is out where the river flows across the beach. Winter is the best time to see wading birds as most of them migrate to northern breeding grounds in the summer.
Seabirds and Wading birds
Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, Turnstones, Lapwings, can be seen in groups while single Grey Herons, Curlews, and Whimbrals are also often seen. Sea-birds include Common Gulls, Blackheaded Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Black Backed Gulls. The birds that can be seen plunging into the sea from a height during the summer are Common Terns which nest in Strangford Lough area but are not usually seen on the beach. Occasionally, gannets can be seen diving in Cloughey Bay, and in the Spring increasing numbers of Brent Geese gather in prepartion for their annual migration to their breeding grounds in Greenland.
Twitchers or serious birdwatchers often call in at Cloughey to check which birds are here and about 2 years ago spotted a rare American visitor, the white-rumped sandpiper - which brought dozens more twitchers here to Cloughey. In October 2012, we had another rare visitor - an American Golden Plover sitting on the beach among a flock of European Golden plovers - to the unpractised eye they all looked the same!
How to Identify that bird - Use this RSPB link to identify any bird you see http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdidentifier/