Shannon-Fergus Estuary Bird Survey

McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan are delighted to have been chosen to undertake the most comprehensive bird population and distribution survey of the Shannon-Fergus estuary ever undertaken.

We will be undertaking and coordinating the year-long survey on behalf of the Shannon Estuary Strategic Infrastructure Framework Plan (SIFP) which comprises stakeholders engaged in the development and management of Ireland’s largest and deepest estuary.

The region’s local authorities, namely Clare County Council, Kerry County Council and Limerick City & County Council, have joined with Shannon Group and Shannon Foynes Port Company in promoting ‘Deep Water Marine Investment Opportunities’ on 1,220 hectares of land at 6 Strategic Development Locations deemed appropriate for marine-related investment.  The sites, which are zoned for marine-related industry in Regional and Local statutory development plans, include  Moneypoint (280Ha), Innismurry/Cahericon (65Ha) in Clare, Askeaton (98Ha), Foynes Island (40Ha), and Foynes Port and adjoining lands (186Ha) in Limerick, and Tarbert - Ballylongford Landbank (550Ha) in Kerry.

The bird usage survey area stretches from Limerick City to where the Shannon Estuary meets the Atlantic Ocean in West Clare and North Kerry. The survey begins during May and is being carried out in accordance with the EU Birds Directive which dictates that an assessment of any such development requires that the most up-to-date comprehensive geospatial data on bird populations is available.

The Estuary is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive and is considered to be the most important coastal wetland in the country, regularly holding over 50,000 wintering waterfowl including internationally important numbers of Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank. The survey will also allow the importance of the estuary during migration periods to be assessed with many birds stopping off to refuel on their migration routes, many between the Arctic Circle and Africa.

With such a large area to cover (100km from Limerick to the mouth of the estuary) and so many birds to survey 14 observers are needed for each survey of the estuary with each survey spanning two days. We have assembled a skilled and experienced team using our team of in-house ornithologists as well as sub-consultants, many of which have been involved in previous surveys of the estuary.

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