As you make your passage west through Belfast Harbour to the Marina you probably don’t realise that on your port side near the cruise liner terminal is gem of a wildlife sanctuary just a hundred metres away writes Betty Armstrong.
And it’s walkable from the Marina via Airport Road.
It’s called Belfast’s Window on Wildlife (Wow), run by the conservation charity RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), and from a huge window in the refurbished visitor centre overlooking a freshwater lagoon, you can see a huge variety of birds and ducks. There are also several Polish Konik ponies which graze the area around the lagoon, creating ideal conditions for ground-nesting birds.
"Over 200 different species have been recorded"
Over 200 different species have been recorded long with lots of butterflies, mammals, fish and plants. Binoculars are available though the birds and ducks are so close they’re hardly needed.
This time of year brings mostly ducks from the Arctic regions and Eastern Europe - wigeons, teals, shovelers and shelducks. And WOW will also sometimes even get shorebirds visiting from Siberia and North America.
From the Belfast Harbour Marina in Titanic Quarter it’s about a 45-minute walk but it’s also safe to cycle. Bikes can be hired just across the River Lagan by the footbridge.