An unusual visitor makes itself at home in the park

In early November Lurgan Park had a notable visitor in the shape of a black-headed gull all the way from Norway. Black-headed gulls are common at the park throughout the year and some breed on islands on Lough Neagh, but less well known is the winter influx of these gulls from eastern and northern Europe.

The gull in question was found on the morning of November 11 and had a white leg-ring with the code J4P4. This enabled it to be tracked back to Oslo where it was ringed as a chick in 2006. The public should keep an eye out for gulls with leg-rings as there is an ongoing ringing project of these birds in Antrim.

The park is great for water birds throughout the year. Of note is the small wintering population of a distinctive duck species, the Shoveler. The feral Greylag Geese population has drawn much attention in recent years and now numbers over 50 birds.

If you have an interest in local birds the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) organises a number of surveys, training days and events. More information can be found on the BTO website.