North Strangford Lough National Nature Reserve
Grid Reference: J 508706
There are only six areas of extensive mud and sheltered sand flats in Northern Ireland. This habitat is the most extensive and least altered and therefore the most outstanding example of its type found in the province. The daily rhythms of the tides cover and expose a vast area of 2,400 acres.
Between the tides, there is a range of habitats from differing grades of mud and sand to boulders and saltmarsh. These areas are very rich in worms, shellfish and other small animals, a vast food resource which attracts migratory wildfowl and waders during the winter. Some species are found here in internationally important numbers. Eel-grass is abundant and is the principal food source of the pale-bellied brent geese, attracting over 60% of the world population!
The spectacular presence of thousands of geese is best observed during September and October. During the summer months, Ogilby Island features as the Lough's most important breeding site for sandwich tern and includes a large population of black-headed gulls.
Car parks at Island Hill, Floodgates, Gas Works. Lay-byes along A20. Toilets at Island Hill. Viewing platform at Floodgates.
Contact the National Trust Strangford Lough Warden on Tel. 028 4488 1411.