The star sighting this week at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve was the return of the Water Rail. This shy bird was spotted numerous times during the course of last winter, so we are hoping that it’s reappearance on 19/11/13 will signal another good run of viewings. The Stoat has also been making regular appearances in front of the Observation Window, mesmerizing visitors with its activity.

Wader numbers were strangely small this week, with top counts of 110 Oystercatcher, 30 Lapwing, 23 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Redshank and 1 Snipe. However, wildfowl numbers were still going strong, with 53 Wigeon, 206 Teal, 1 Shelduck and 36 Shoveler being seen. Also spotted were 5 Grey Heron, 5 Mute Swan, 1 Greylag Goose, 24 Moorhen, 2 Coot and 5 Cormorant.

Moving on to smaller species, there were highs of 3 Greenfinch, 1 Reed Bunting, 15 Goldfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 4 Great Tit, 1 Redpoll, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Robin, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1 Dunnock, 1 Wren, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Blackbird and 3 Starling. The only raptor seen this week was a Sparrowhawk hunting around the lagoon. Finally, there were also top counts of 21 Black-headed Gulls, 6 Common Gulls, 2 Herring Gulls and 1 Greater Black-backed Gull.

Keep checking back here for the latest sightings every week from RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve.