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Site guide: Ballymacaw

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Ballymacaw Glen: north end


Grid reference: X69 - X6498/X6499
Ordnance Survey Discovery map:  # 76

Habitat:  Wooded coastal glens, and gardens, with sea-cliffs to east & west.
Main interest:  Migrant passerines; some breeding seabirds.
Regular/annual:  Common warbler species.
Scarcer species & rarities: Quail, Green Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Turtle Dove, Black Redstart, Melodious, Garden & Yellow-browed Warblers, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher, Brambling.
Access: The east Waterford coastline, the coves at Portally, Rathmoylan and Ballymacaw, Brownstown Head and Tramore Backstrand (Saleen) can be reached by following the winding road westwards from Dunmore (keep left before White’s pub in Ballymacaw if going to Brownstown/Saleen).

Further details:

The two streams running down to Ballymacaw Cove each form steep-sided, well-wooded, scrubby glens, with breeding species including Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and occasionally Blackcap.  Small passerines find plenty of shelter and feeding here at migration times, but because there is so much dense, tall cover, they can be difficult to see.  However, the easternmost glen can be viewed from the roadside above and flitting shapes in the branches can be gradually picked out.  Most will be tits, Willow/Chiffs or Goldcrests, but Garden and Melodious Warblers, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrests and Pied Flycatchers have all occurred.  Although Brownstown Head has been more productive in recent years, partly because of greater coverage, the glens at Ballymacaw are always worth a visit at migration seasons and merit improved coverage.  Gardens in the village itself are also worth checking.

Common Sandpipers occasionally occur on rocks at the mouth of the cove in late summer.  A walk westwards along the cliffs towards Benlea Head will produce a few breeding Fulmars and Herring Gulls, and Kittiwakes have bred in the past.  Quail and other interesting species have occurred along the clifftop.


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