Derry and Donegal boast some of the finest places in Ireland to go bird watching.
In a revised edition of Eric Dempsey’s and Michael O’Clery’s ‘Find Birds in Ireland’ places such as the River Foyle, the Inch Wildfowl Reserve, Limavady and Malin Head all feature as spectacular places to spot some of the best wild bird activity Ireland has to offer.
The book is a remarkable guide to the best places in Ireland to birdwatch. It provides a list of the birds you are likely to see and it tells you the best time to go to a particular bird watching spot and it offers advice on the best way to travel there.
Niall Hatch from ‘Wings’, which is Birdwatch Ireland Magazine described the book as one of the best he’d ever read.
“It’s perhaps the most thoroughly researched and user-friendly bird-finding guide I have ever read. It sets a new benchmark for all future publications for any region of the globe,” he said.
Co-authors, Eric Dempsey is one of Ireland’s bird experts and Michael O’Clery is one of Ireland’s best-known wildlife artists with paintings and illustrations appearing in a variety of books and journals worldwide.
Over 600 of his paintings were published in the bestselling ‘The Complete Guide to Ireland’s Birds’ and he has had several solo exhibitions.
Every single county in Ireland is documented in the book and amongst the best places to birdwatch in Derry is the south shore of the Lough Foyle (near Culmore Point and Eglinton), Roe Valley Country Park and Banagher Glen outside Dungiven.
The species of bird you are most likely to see down along the banks of Lough Foyle include bewicks and whooper swan, short-eared owls. hen harriers and snow buntings.
Some of the best spots along the south shore include Culmore Point, the Donnybrewer Levels and Faughanvale.
Inishowen bird watching hot spots include Malin Head, Trawbreaga, the Isle of Doagh, Blanket Nook, Inch Level and Fahan Creek.
The Inch Wildfowl Reserve is home to over 1500 black headed gulls and 3000 common gulls and if you’re really lucky you could spot a Gyr Falcon.
Malin Head is the most northerly site on mainland Ireland and is excellent for spotting migrants and sea watching, especially in autumn.
The areas best for bird watching in Malin Head are rather flat will little cover but the area is particularly good for eider and buzzards. Although a bird observatory operated successfully in the 1960s, it’s been seldom watched in autumn since. There is obviously great potential for further interesting discoveries including black-browed albatross and little auks.
‘Find Birds in Ireland’ is published by Gill and Macmillan Books and is available to buy at www.gillmacmillanbooks.ie for €15.99.