Birdwatching - Eanealaíocht
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the best birdwatching areas in Ireland, particularly famous for its seabird colonies.
The Blaskets and the Maharees together have tens of thousands of nesting birds each summer, including Storm Petrels, shearwaters, terns, gulls and auks, including the colourful Puffin. The cliffs fringing the peninsula also hold good numbers of Chough and Peregrine Falcon. PeregrineLough Gill is one of the best lakes to see waterbirds, including Whooper and Mute swans and a variety of duck, and the mudflats at Tralee Bay and Castlemaine Harbour host a huge number and variety of wading birds and wildfowl. Large numbers of Brent Geese winter in these areas, along with Pintail, Scaup, Wigeon and waders such as Curlew, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit. The shallow bay east of Castlegregory is also one of the best places to see rare grebes and divers.
In early summer, the reeling song of the Grasshopper Warbler and is commonly heard on calm evenings, while Little Egrets are now nesting at several sites on the peninsula alongside Grey Herons.
The whole peninsula has a growing reputation, in Ireland and abroad, for attracting very rare North American species, particularly in September and October. Each autumn birdwatchers are scouring the estuaries and bays for these storm-blown strays, and are often rewarded with seeing Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs or Pectoral Sandpipers among the hordes of other migrating waders.
Suggested reading: Finding Birds in Ireland - The Complete Guide by Eric Dempsey and Michael O'Clery ISBN: 9780717139163 Gill & Macmillan To find out more detail on the bird species you can expect and where to find them the West Kerry Branch of BirdWatch Ireland has published The Dingle Peninsula Bird Report and Birding the Dingle Peninsula.
Visit the events page at www.birdwatchireland.iee for details of free birdwatching events.
A brief guide to some top birding spots Birding the Dingle Peninsula can be downloaded as a PDF document from here