The Bird Trail
See pairs of Fulmars breed on the surrounding cliffs in summer, Oystercatchers feeding along the rocky shore, or a Peregrine Falcon patrolling the skies
Take a walk towards the mouth of the harbour and you may spot the Fulmar, Black Guillemot or Chough. Watch out for the Great Northern Diver in the winter months.
Here it’s as much about listening as birdwatching. You may hear a peculiar squealing sound from reedy areas; the distinctive call of the very secretive Water Rail, more often heard than seen.
Habitat & Species The birds here are accustomed to people using the footpaths which allows you to get a good close look at different species. History In 1972, the yacht, Gypsy Moth V, was constructed in Crosshaven boatyard for Sir... Read More
In recent years, a flock of Brent Geese has begun to use this area, with their numbers steadily increasing. They travel from Arctic Canada to spend the winter months in Ireland.
During the winter months, many species of wildfowl and waders flock to this important feeding area, at the southern end of Cork Harbour, to avoid the harsh conditions of Northern Europe and Iceland.
Habitat & Species In the mudflats at low tide, Turnstones often dot the shoreline, whereas Great Crested Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers often make their appearance at high tide. About the Area In the early 1800s, Passage West housed many busy... Read More
Several thousand waders and wildfowl winter on the Douglas Estuary between October and March. On the lagoons and ponds on the southern side of the walkway you can often spot Little Egret, Teal, Moorhen and if you are lucky occasionally a Kingfisher.
Habitat & Species The estuary walk is a good place to see the variety of bird species found in the Glashaboy Estuary, an area designated for the protection of a wide range of wintering water birds, as part of the... Read More
Harper’s Island is a particularly important area for birds to roost at during high tides; you will see large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank using the safety of the fields as they wait for the tide to drop, exposing the mud once again.
While some gulls are present all year round, Cobh is famous for visits from rare gulls. The winter months are best for spotting the different species, especially mid-week when the fishing trawlers are unloading their catch of the day.
On the North Channel of Cork Harbour, is possibly the most important mudflat area in the whole harbour. Large numbers of waders and wildfowl feed here during the autumn and winter, including Oystercatchers, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwing
Habitat & Species Two distinct habitats have evolved here where the main road from Cobh to Cork crosses the most northern edge of Cork Harbour. On the west of the bridge you have an estuarine mudflat and on the east... Read More
Spotting rare ducks and grebes is always a possibility; American Wigeon have been seen quite regularly, and although geese are rare in East Cork, this is one of the few places you have a chance of seeing Brent Geese
Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings breed here in summer and Little Egrets can be seen for much of the year. In the winter months you can see the wintering waders Lapwings and Redshank.
A great place for birds all year round is Lough Aderra, a National Wildfowl Sanctuary. One of the few fresh water lakes in East Cork, this is possibly the best site in Cork to see the scarce Gadwall.
On this tidal mudflat of Saleen Creek, at the eastern edge of Cork Harbour, waders and wildfowl gather to feed and roost, from late autumn through to early spring.
Autumn and winter sees the arrival of large flocks of ducks, including Wigeon, Teal and Tufted Ducks. Listen out for the distinctive, peculiar squealing call of the secretive Water Rail from reedy areas.
During the winter the sheltered aspect of Aghada Pier allows superbly close-up views of up to four Grebe species, Black Guillemots and other Auks, Great Northern Divers, Red-breasted Mergansers and Gulls.
Gulls are plentiful here; Whitegate Bay holds the largest gathering of Mediterranean Gulls in the country, with sightings of some interesting species like Ring-billed Glaucous and Iceland Gull.
Rarities to be sighted along the Ballycotton cliffs include, Booted Warbler, Alpine Swift, Ivory Gull, Cory’s, Shearwaters, and Sabine’s Gulls.
Ballynamona is internationally famous for a long list of rarities, including American Coot, Red-necked Stint, Long-toed Stint, Stilt Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Little Bustard, Richard’s Pipits, Shrikes, Larks and Citrine Wagtails.
Watch flocks of migrating birds during spring and autumn from the beach and dunes here at Garryvoe. Wheatears and Black Redstarts are often seen at the tideline, with Terns visible offshore.
Ring Strand and the estuary of the Womanagh River, a Special Protection Area (EU Habitats Directive), is an important winter habitat for wading birds, especially Golden Plover. Rare visitors include White-rumped Sandpiper and Richard’s Pipit.
At low tide, watch out for the large flock of Golden Plovers resting on the beach. In autumn you can see Little Stints, Curlew, Sandpipers, and many Terns.