Category Archives: Clare Birdwatching Sites (A-B)

Saturday 4th January 2014

A male Blackcap has been at Oak Park Ennis since before Christmas

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Ballyvaughan

Ballyvaughan
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Black Head

Black Head
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Ballyeither Loughs

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Ballycar Lake

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Bell harbour

Bell harbour
Bell Harbour from the air John N Murphy
Bell Harbour can be found on the main road half way between Kinvarra and Ballyvaughan.
It iis best visited in winter.  On a rising tide this small bay can have Little Grebe, Shellduck, Wigeon, Teal, Redshank, Greenshank, Lapwing, Curlew, Dunlin, Snipe, Common and Black-headed Gulls.

Scarce or Rare Birds: It is one of the few places in Clare where in winter you can almost  gauranteed to see a drake Green-winged Teal mixed in with the Eurasian Teal.  Keep an eye out for Kingfisher on the old Quay.

In summer Swallows, House Martins, Cuckoo, Whitethroat and Wheatear are all gauranteed alongside residents like Greenfinch, Stonechat and Rock Pipit.

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Burren

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Ballyallia

Ballyallia
Ballyallia Lake is three miles north of Ennis just off the main Galway road. In winter it is very good for wildfowl especially ducks and hosts many other species of waders on its wet meadowed shores.The lake holds breeding Great Crested and Little Grebes. Coot and Moorhen are also plentiful. Winter Birds include a feeding flock of approximately 40 Whooper Swans which feed mainly on grassy fields at the Drumcliff graveyard end of the lake.
Ducks commonly found on the lake are, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted, Pochard, Pintail and Shoveler in National numbers of importance.
Waders seen in winter include Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Snipe.
Passerines found around the shores and tree lined areas include Jay, Raven, Kestrel, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Blackcap, Grey Wagtail and Brambling.  A Lesser Whitethroat was found over-wintering in the 1970’s.

Rare or scarce birds found on the lake were Ring-necked Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, Little Egrets, Great White Egret, American Wigeon, Little Gulls, Green-winged Teal and Jack Snipe.

 

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Auginish Island

Auginish Island
Aughinish Island is found on the north Clare coast in Galway Bay.  It is connected to the mainland by a causeway and has a Martello Tower on the north east end of the island.  You can drive onto Aughinish from the main road (N67) which runs between Kinvarra and Ballyvaughan.
It is best in winter for Divers, Grebes, Brent Geese, Long-tailed Duck and a variety of other seabirds and diving duck.
Scarce and rare birds here have included Ross’s Gull, Snow Bunting, Slavonian and Red-necked Grebe, Black Redstart and Forster’s Tern.

 

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Bridges of Ross

Bridges of Ross

Bridges of Ross 2006 © John N Murphy

The Bridges of Ross is located on the north side of the Loop Head peninsula. It is low lying and seabirds pass very close to shore during autumn migration. When sitting at the sea-watching point one faces northwards, so the light and sun is always at your back.  Seabirds normally pass very close to shore if not over your head.  This makes for really exciting watching and allows the observer superb views of all passing seabirds.

During late summer and early autumn Great, Cory’s, Balearic, Sooty and Manx Shearwater passage can be excellent.  All four skuas, Great, Arctic, Pomarine and Long-tailed are regular and occur from late July to early November.  Storm Petrels can be seen from mid July to late October.  Wilson’s Storm Petrels are seen normally from mid July to mid September with mid August being the best time of year for passage.  Leach’s Petrels are always that bit later and occur in large numbers from late September to late October. Sabine’s Gulls also appear from mid August to late October.  Grey Phalarope are regular in September and October.  Little Auks put in an appearance from early October to late winter depending on wind direction. Other wildlife: regularly seen off the Bridges are Whales, Dolphins and sunfish.

In autumn the best sea watching conditions are often after northwesterly gales, especially if the storm centre lies well to the north between Scotland and Iceland or if a fast depression moves down from Greenland and arctic Canada across the north Atlantic. These systems blow in Sabine’s Gulls, Leach’s Petrels, Little auks, and Grey phalaropes along with a good selection of skuas. Of the rarer seabirds so far there has been ten Fae’s Petrels, two Swinhoe’s Petrel, one Sooty Tern and three Little Shearwaters.

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