Wildlife in the region
There is a wide range of other wildlife and wild places to explore around the Shannon estuary. Many other cetacean species can be seen from land especially off Loop Head in west Clare.
Common dolphins are frequently seen throughout the summer and autumn but minke whales tend to occur in larger numbers during September and October. As many as eight have been seen very lose to the cliffs off Loop Head. Check www.iwdg.ie for latest sightings and please fill in the on-line sighting form if you have any sightings.
Grey and Common seals are frequently seen in the estuary and hauled out on islands and beaches, especially in the autumn and winter. Otters occur throughout the area along the coast and along streams and rivers. Although sometimes difficult to see their spraints are very noticeable cues to the presence.
Loop Head is also a fantastic place to see a range of breeding seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Peregrine falcons are frequently seen hunting along the cliff is the summer months. In the winter Poulnasherry and Clonderlaw Bays and Shannon Airport lagoon in Co Clare are excellent places to see thousands of wintering waterfowl including ducks, geese, swans and a range of waders. On the south side of the estuary the shore at Tarbert and Bunaclugga, Co Kerry or in the Deel and Maigue estuaries in Co Limerick are excellent locations.
From May, the fields and banks around the Shannon estuary are full of wild flowers. Thrift or sea pink and primroses are the first flowers to bloom followed by purple loosestrife, sea-aster, meadowsweet and the introduced montbrechia to name but a few make sure there is lots of colour throughout the summer.
An excellent guide to the Natural History of the Loop Head Penninsula has been published by Eugene O’Kelly of the NatureQuest Centre, Blackweir, Kilkee, Co Clare (ISBN 0-9540066-0-7).
Wildlife Workshop for Doonbeg and surroundings
Do you want to get involved in protecting and enhancing the wildlife in your locality?
4 August 2006
Minke, Fin and Humpback whales off Loop Head
Minke whales are being seen regularly at present from Loop Head, presumably attracted by spawning herring and fin and humpback whales on 3 October.
4 October 2006
The Bottlenose Dolphin
Wild, Sociable Bottlenose Dolphins
Frequently Asked Questions
Whale & Dolphin Roadshow
Wildlife in the Region