Kilmichael, Kilpatrick & Kilgorman

Kilmichael / Kilpatrick / Kilgorman, North Co. Wexford 
by Michael O'Donnell

With my twitching days long behind me, and my focus much more on moths for the past 10 years, I've done very little birding.  Any I have done has been casual and usually when I'm doing moths.  I instigated a hedgerow wildlife survey in the Wexford Naturalists' Field Club, which we're trialing this year, but that's only once a month.  The Patchwork Challenge provided the ideal kick to get me off my ass and start birding properly again.

I moved to Clone in north Co. Wexford a couple of years ago.  It's a five minute walk to the sea and a 10 minute walk to a dune system - very popular for cider parties and ATVs during the Summer.  The place is left in an appalling state afterwards and it's supposed to be an SAC!

Patch map

Most of the habitat is farmland with little in the way of what could be called woodland.  The dune systems are good for plants and insects but not really attractive to birds.  There are a couple of nice beaches at Kilpatrick and Kilgorman with a small gull roost at the outflow of the Kilgorman River but you have to be up early before the dog walkers are out.  I haven't seen anything among the gulls - yet - and, for some reason, Kilpatrick beach seems more attractive to birds.  I've seen several Mediterranean Gulls and last year five Little Gulls landed briefly during a storm.  A Black Tern hung around for several hours in 2011 and Curlew Sandpipers have been seen among the occasional Dunlin, Sanderling and Ringed Plover.

Kilmichael (flooded) looking North

Kilpatrick beach looking North

Inland from the dunes is a wet, scrubby area where I've heard several Grasshopper WarblersBlackcaps and Whitethroats are common.  The highlight was a Short-eared Owl in 2012 for just one day.

Sea-watching has produced Arctic Skuas and Bonxies and I live in hope of a Sabine's or a large Shearwater.

The Kilgorman River has a very nice looking area of reed bed.  I've only visited it once, looking for dragonflies, but it looks like it could produce Reed Warblers or a Harrier.

Kilgorman marsh

Overall, the area has a good variety of habitats and regular birding could produce a nice list and while I don't expect to be causing any major twitches any time soon, I live in hope of making that phone call.

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