The Shannon Callows are the flood lands of the river Shannon between Athlone and Portumna and are designated as both an SPA and SAC. They are one of the most important breeding sites in the country for lapwing, redshank, curlew and snipe and the largest of all wet grassland sites.  As part of my job, I’m lucky enough to watch the breeding season unfold for each of these birds. I see their trials, and their triumphs. I also get to watch winter progress into spring and summer in one of the rarest and most beautiful landscapes in Ireland.  Winter migrants such as Whooper swan, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Shoveler and Pintail leave as summer visitors like Whinchat and Wheatear arrive. Flooded land turns into a wonderful expanse of flower rich grassland, alive with the sound of bees going about their business on a summer’s day.

Over the season I hope to make regular updates to this blog, sharing with you the progress of the wader breeding season and the sights and sounds of the Shannon Callows. 

Winter flood on the Commonage Bullock Island  ©  B. Caffrey 

The Shannon Callows in summer ©   N. Warnock 

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