Cape Clear

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Cape Clear photograph
Cape Clear

Cape Clear

Lying 8 miles off the coast of Cork, and a mere 3 miles long by 1 mile wide, Cape Clear is perhaps one of the most famous birding locations in the British Isles and is Ireland's most southerly inhabited island. During autumn migration rare passerines from both north america and siberia are frequent and seabird passage can be spectacular. The Cape Clear Bird Observatory (Tigh na nÉan) was founded in 1959 by four English birdwatchers ,now managed by Bird Watch Ireland, they immediately recognised the enormous potential Cape Clear offered for observing bird migration.
Sites such as 'Cotters Garden' ( Blue-winged Warbler pictured and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were found here) ,'Thrush Glen' and 'Pointabullig' are legendary.
Landing on the island it soon becomes evident that migrants (and birders) are everywhere :- redstarts and wheatears seem to be on every stone wall, whilst thousands of passing shearwaters grace the seascapes.
Breeding birds include chough, raven, peregrine and stonechat, but rare birds are this site's speciality with spectacular records from both autumn and spring but also needle-tailed and little swift recorded in summer.

Classic Books The Natural History of Cape Clear Island (T&AD Poyser)

Classic Books The Natural History of Cape Clear Island (T&AD Poyser)

Cape Clear island, the most southerly point of Ireland, apart from the nearby Fastnet Rock, has been the site of a bird observatory since 1959. This account of the island, its flora and fauna, its inhabitants and history, is weighted in favour of the birds but this is,perhaps,inevitable since the island offers so much of ornithological interest.Even so, a glance at the book's contents will show the wide range covered-from Killer Whales to the rare Kerry Slug and the Lusitanian flora that south-west Ireland shares with Iberia.Anyone with a general interest in natural history will find chapters on a variety of topics, each written by an acknowledged expert. The author's enthusiasm for their subjects is always apparent; some sections are light hearted but scientific accuracy is always maintained. For the Bird-Watcher the book, like the island, is rich in fascinating material - not least the detailed list of species (accompanied by many maps and a unique set of more than 130 histograms), sections on sea - watching and seabird studies,and an account of the ornithological year.
The observatory has made important contributions to migration studies and, although it is perhaps best known as a vantage point for the study of some of Europe's largest seabird movements, the island also receives many rarities and vagrants, from Asia and America as well as Europe. To whet the reader's appetite, Robert Gillmor's characteristically evocative pen - and- ink illustrations are liberally mingled with the text.
Hardback 207pp.

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