2018 got off to a great start down at the East Coast Nature Reserve. The usual winter visitors from the cold north such as Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, and Whooper, were joined by three Glossy Ibises from the warm south. These magnificent wading birds are usually associated with Africa, although the trio are more likely from Southern Europe. Ringed birds from southern Spain have turned up in Co. Wexford in the past. It’s predicted that as our climate changes they will establish in Ireland, similarly to another regular on the reserve, the Little Egret. For the time being these three appear to be very happy and well fed. They can be seen just inside the main entrance of the reserve, probing their long sickle like bills into the wet fields as they look for insects and larvae.
If you have strolled down Sea Road on a recent sunny morning you might have been lucky enough to have heard the drumming of woodpeckers claiming territory. Great Spotted Woodpeckers arrived in Wicklow around 2007, bouncing over the Irish Sea after a boom in the Welsh population. Although they can be quite shy, they regularly visit peanut feeders and will often give themselves away with a loud ‘kick’ call. Keep an ear out for this wonderful sound, which should continue until early April, adding percussion to the dawn chorus