TALA 4: [This is one of several pages published under this heading by LoughAllenBasin.com We endeavour to highlight what this area of NorthWest Ireland has to offer as a place to live, a place where interesting Plants and Animals may be found, and as a quiet peaceful location for Hi Tech Enterprise.]

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4. Greenshank (March 14th and 24th 2010)
a marine species...  breeds in Scotland...  on Migration?


Location:  Srabraggan, west shore of Lough Allen




An unexpected surprise! We encountered this interesting species as part of our survey on the birdlife of Lough Allen recently.  Interesting because it is a scarce visitor to inland lakes in Ireland. It could have been passing through, on its way to breeding grounds (the  nearest Greenshank breeding area is in Scotland). But perhaps, Greenshank might breed here? In Scotland, they breed in pool-dominated and boulder-strewn bogland areas. Could our quiet, stony shores of  Lough Allen with its boggy hinterland be attractive to them?

These birds have been present in this quiet area of shoreline just below Srabraggan National School of the past 10 days. Water level in the lake is very low and there are exposed mudflats in the area which may well provide feeding. It’s worth keeping an eye out for this lovely bird, and letting us know if you see it around the shores of Lough Allen in the coming weeks and months. The area we saw them consists of stony shoreline, just beyond a sandy/muddy beach at Srabraggan, a few miles from Drumshganbo on the west side of Lough  Allen. Alder trees normally grow right down to the water line but a wider area of shore is presently exposed. The area is also relatively undisturbed.

On the first visit (March 14th) one  Greenshank was seen flying off southwards, while another remained on the stony shoreline, accompanied by a Redshank. On the second visit, just  one Greenshank was seen. Greenshank are distinctive, long-billed waders, quite large, with dark wings. In flight, shows no wing bar, just plain blackish wings, contrasting with a long white rump and back  which really stands out. (See a range of photos in the Link below.) If you can see them close up, the bill is straight with a very slight upturn, legs a washed out greyish green. Their call, usually in flight, is a loud "tew, tew,tew”

According  to Birdwatch Ireland, (Irish Wetland Bird Survey), they are a winter  visitor from Scotland and Scandinavia, and are an Amber-listed  (National, BoCCI) species. This means they are under moderate threat. Greenshank are not very abundant _ typically seen singly or in very small groups. They winter mostly in coastal areas, the majority are found on estuaries.

Sligo Birding reports that they have been seen in Lough Gill, which is closer to the sea, but there are very few reports of sightings anywhere else inland. Presumeably these are birds that were on migration but may be lingering because of the unusual favourable shore conditions at present. (For further help with identification and their distribution in Ireland, Britain and Europe go to Birdsguides.com)






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If you have any interesting records of animals or plants from the Lough Allen basin, we will be very pleased to reproduce them here.