Nature Diary: Migratory wading birds a winter delight

The curlew one of the birds to be seen in estuaries, mudflats and coastal grasslands

The curlew, with its large size and long curved bill, can be seen in  locations like North Bull Island in Dublin and Cork Harbour

The curlew, with its large size and long curved bill, can be seen in locations like North Bull Island in Dublin and Cork Harbour

 

The winter months are a great time of year to see migratory wading birds in estuaries, mudflats and coastal grasslands.

The curlew, with its large size and long curved bill, is one of the most easily identifiable. They increase in number in winter with curlews arriving from Scotland, Northern England and Scandinavia. North Bull Island in Dublin and Cork Harbour are good places to watch these long-legged birds – about three hours before high tide is the best time of the day.

The seasonally flooded grasslands known as the Callows along the River Shannon were also home to large numbers of wading birds, although their number have declined in this region, probably due to predation by foxes, according to the Irish Wildlife Trust.

Some types of sandpipers can also be spotted in coastal locations but these smaller birds can be more difficult to identify. Nonetheless, time spent in these locations in the low winter light can be enjoyable in and of itself. 

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