Just ten minutes from the busy centre of Belfast City, there lies a peaceful oasis of calm. A haven for wildlife, a window on a world that otherwise, in an urban landscape, city dwellers just would not see. I am talking about the beautiful RSPB Window on Wildlife, where urban meets wild! I have been here before, but not since I started my blog and I was keen to visit and promote this sanctuary.

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That’s me, trying not to look uncomfortable ūüėČ

 

This amazing reserve is home to a vast variety of birds and wildlife, differing from season to season. It has changed a lot over the years and has been updated and modernised and it really is a magnificent place! In summer, WOW is home to a small colony of the nesting Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)and I was keen to catch a close glimpse of this elelgant migrant. Around 10,000 pairs nest in the UK in mainly coastal areas and some in reservoirs. I got some good glimpses of the chicks and it was just fabulous to watch them through the scopes which are provided by the RSPB. The terns and Black Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) nest on large nesting rafts which were constructed in the hope that they would be colonised, and oh my, they did! Fantastic result!

Upon closer inspection I found some Shelducks  (Tadorna tadorna) hidden and obscured by the grass on the far side of the lagoon, a family of mute swans, and two absolutely beautiful, rare breed Konik ponies, who love wetlands and are great conservation grazers.

 

The meadow was still in beautiful bloom and¬†parent moorhens and coots were tending to their babies, which were a real hit with my younger brother and sister. The swifts and swallows were still screeching and swerving and the herring gulls’ mocking cry filled the air.¬†Watching the¬†rabbits with their kittens, who¬†were preening and lolloping in amongst the meadow flowers, enjoying the joyous sound of the birds,¬†I forgot where I was, I was transported to another place, with my thoughts.

 

The two ladies who were working in the reserve were very helpful and kind and the space is so child friendly. You can pick up binoculars, look through magazines, handle scopes and just really relax and just be with nature.   In a city, this is really important, connecting with nature in this way in an urban environment, is a real blessing.

We walked to another hide along the road and we spotted Common White Wave (Cabera exanthemata) moth high up on the eaves of the outer wall, you have to keep your eyes open!

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As always, I loved my visit to RSPB WOW and I’m really looking forward to visiting again when the wintering ducks and geese arrive to escape the harsh winters of the north; and although I didn’t spot any warblers or the elusive wood sandpiper, it was still a really enjoyable visit.

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Lorcan and Bl√°thnaid checking out the Bug Hotel

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading

Dara