The challenge to count
Amy and Fionnbarr look after our Lower Lough Erne Islands reserve, situated in the county of Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. It’s a true watery wilderness, made up of 46 islands dotted across the second largest freshwater lake in the UK.
In winter, the reserve is a haven for hundreds of wildfowl and other wetland species who seek food and shelter from colder climes, including whooper swans from Iceland and wigeons, teals, goldeneyes and tufted ducks from continental Europe.
Each month between October and March, the wardens undertake a Wetland Bird Survey to record the numbers of wintering wildfowl in various areas on the reserve. But with so much wetland and wintry weather to contend with, counting is not a straight-forward endeavour.