Bird-Watching In County Kerry

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Bird-Watching in County Kerry is a Bird-watchers paradise. County Kerry has the widest range of bird habitats in Ireland. Its position in the south west corner of the country makes it also a landfall for feathered migrants from the Americas, Kerry is a must place to head for if you are keen on Bird-Watching.

If you visit in the spring, head for Killarney’s mixed woodland, lakeshores and rivers.

Here you will find the local flocks of Jay, dipper and coal tit, woodcock roosting at dusk and siskins galore in the pinewoods. All of the headlands are worth searching for tired migrants.

In summer, head for the offshore islands. Kerry is the world HQ for breeding storm petrels and has large colonies of gannets and shearwaters.

The mountains are also worth visiting at this time. Look for ring ouzels, choughs, ravens, peregrines and rock doves, particularly around the Gap of Dunloe.

Autumn is the time for the estuaries and headlands. Castlemaine harbour, Tralee Bay and the Shannon estuary all have large numbers of ducks, geese and waders. Light-bellied brent geese and wigeon are common around Castlemaine harbour and Tralee Bay.

Of the three estuaries Tralee Bay is probably the best for a mix of species. To the north lies Akeragh Lough, famous as a beacon for American migrants, particularly waders.

In winter, check out the large scooter flocks off Rossbeigh Strand and in Ballinskelligs Bay. The former site holds up to 10,000 common scooter, while surf scooters and common eider are also frequent.

On the Maharee Peninsula, west of Tralee, lies Lough Gill, which regularly holds 1,500 scaup as well as rare duck. A few kilometres west, rare grebes and divers winter in Brandon Bay.

Bunaclugga Bay, at the mouth of the Shannon is another wader site.

Bird Watching in County Kerry, especially The Skelligs are a bird paradise. Take a boat trip around The Skelligs and you will spot diminutive storm petrels, also known as “Mother Carey`s Chickens” that dart above the water like swallows. The Skelligs is one of the prime places in Europe for Bird Watching.

Gannets, with savage beaks, imperious eyes and yellow caps are unmistakable, not least because of their wingspans of 107cm. They dive like tridents into the sea and snatch fish from below the water.

Kittiwakes, small dainty sea birds with black tipped wings are easy to see and hear around the covered walkway of Skellig Michael. They winter at sea and then land in the thousands to breed between March and August.

Further up the rock you will see stubby-winged fulmers, with distinctive bony nostrils from which they eject evil smelling green liquid if you get too close.

Black and white guillemots and razor bills are also present.

Look also for the delightful puffins with their multicoloured beaks and waddling gait.

In May the puffins come ashore to lay a solitary egg at the end of a burrow and parent birds can be seen guarding their nests. The puffins stay until the fist or second week in August.

Then there is The Kerry swallow sitting on the telephone wires looking down at the farmers.

The Kestrel

The Hooded Crow

The White Tailed Eagle

The Kerry Swallow

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Bird Watching In County Kerry

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