Glossy Ibis - 2014 a recording breaking year
One of the highlights of 2014 was the record influx of Glossy Ibis into the province with perhaps up to 6 individuals involved. Before 2010 Glossy Ibis was an extremely rare bird in Northern Ireland with the only 20th century record been one seen in 1944,( there had been previous sightings but all in the 19th century). Then in 2010 one was seen at Mullagh, Lough Beg Co.Londonderry this was the first record in 66 years. None where reported in 2011 but another was seen in 2012 on the Colebrooke River, Co.Fermanagh. There were again no records in 2013.Then in 2014 three birds were recorded in January alone. Sightings continued throughout the winter. A bird at Oxford Island and one at Ballycarry seen on the same day, made this the first multiple record, followed by three birds seen in flight at Oxford Island in April. The last record of the year was this bird in the photo above seen at Portmore Lough in June.
Throughout the 20th century numbers declined in Europe which explains why only one record was seen prior to 2010. Then in the 21st century birds started to thankfully increase in both Spain and France with breeding numbers increasing on a yearly basis. As winters here becomes both wetter and milder, leaving more places flooded (miserable for most of us) but ideal conditions for the Ibises. Therefore dispersing birds are now heading north which explains why so many are now been reported in Britain and Southern Ireland with flocks of up to 25 birds seen, if these trends continue, Glossy Ibis will hopefully be a regular winter sighting.