Friday, 21 December 2012

As the sun goes down

Today is the winter solstice and in some respects the end of the year.  However, large wintering waterbird flocks will remain in the Callows right through the Christmas and into the New Year, before starting to disperse around late February to head to their breeding grounds.

Bullock Island © B. Caffrey

If any of you are in the area, in addition to the Commonage at Bullock Island near Shannon Harbor (, the Little Brosna is also a great place to see large wintering flocks and even some less common species.

Teal © BirdWatch Ireland

Pintail © J. Fox

The other day I had 162 Pintail, 45 Shoveler, 27 Tufted Duck,  11 Little Egret,  and nine Gadwall. I’ve never seen so many of these species in one place before, so it was a lovely surprise. There were also large flocks of Wigeon, Teal and Lapwing around. It’s well worth a visit over the Christmas, you never know what else might turn up.

From here on in, days will start getting longer and thoughts will slowly turn to spring. Come January I begin organising maintenance works on the predator proof fence on Inishee. If you think you’d be interested in lending a hand, go to for more details.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and all the best for 2013. I hope you have enjoyed this year’s blog and look forward to keeping you up to date with next year’s happenings in the Shannon Callows.