Loophead Peninsula is a special place for wild fowl. The Loophead headland, near the lighthouse, is the end of major flyways of birds migrating south for the winter from North America, Greenland, Iceland and the Arctic.
In summertime the long coastline provides safe breeding and wintering grounds for a large number of birds from Europe and Africa. Some of the species to be seen are Common Yellowthroat, Canada Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo, Dark-eyed Junco, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and from the east, Rock Thrush and Yellow-browed Warbler.
The Shannon estuary supports the largest numbers of wintering wildfowl in Ireland (over 50,000 were counted in a census in 1995/1996). These include whooper swan, brent goose, golden plover, greylag goose, teal, mallard, curlew, snipe and many more. Tullaher Bog which is a designated National Heritage Area is also a haven for the birdwatcher and Greenland goose and hen harrier are some of the protected species.
At the Bridges of Ross (approximately seven miles from the lighthouse) migrating seabirds pass each autumn on migration and the bridges provide an excellent viewing point for Shearwaters, Petrels, Terns, and Skuas.
Many species rare to Irish waters can be observed in suitable conditions, indeed the first Irish records of two species, Swinhoe’s Petrel and Sooty Tern, occurred here. To find out more visit this website: www.birdwatchireland.ie