If you’ve never visited the RSPB’s nature reserve right in the heart of bustling Belfast Harbour then prepare to be wowed!
After an extensive programme of works, the newly refurbished Window on Wildlife (WOW) is now open and visitors will be able to enjoy improved views of the Lough and the birds and wildlife which call the reserve home.
Major construction work has seen the existing visitor centre extended to give even better views of the lagoon but don’t worry if you’re not an ID expert - there will be binoculars and telescopes available and RSPB staff and volunteers on hand to help!
A new community room has been built, which is available for hire, and a full events calendar makes Belfast WOW a great place to visit all year round.
RSPB NI has also constructed some new homes for nature at the site, including a sand martin bank and a swift tower will be installed later in 2015. Meanwhile two new hides, constructed from recycled shipping containers to tie in with their surroundings, offer different perspectives on the reserve and feature a members-only area, which is suitable for photography.
There’s lots to see at the reserve no matter when you visit. In summer artificial islands give common and Arctic terns a safe place to breed and the reserve comes to life with the sound of many warblers arriving from Africa.
In winter, the water is full of wildfowl like wigeon and teal, while black-tailed godwits can be seen digging in the mud for food.
Resident konik ponies also graze the reserve, creating ideal conditions for ground-nesting birds like lapwings.
This ambitious project was made possible by funding from the European Regional Development Fund administered by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Belfast Harbour Commission and the Alpha Programme administered by Groundwork NI.
For more information on how to get here go to - http://www.connswatergreenway.co.uk/index.php?q=trails