Birdwatching from the Lake Hotel
2007 saw the reintroduction of the White Tailed Sea Eagles in the Killarney National park, 100 birds we released over 5 years and is now proving to be a sucess with new chicks taking flight in many areas around Ireland. This year 2016 saw the flight of a chick from the nest on the Brown Island on the Lakes of Killarney.
The Lake Hotel is an ideal location for visiting birdwatchers wishing to explore the region. In front of the hotel the glistening waters of Lough Leane reflect the images of Torc, Eagle’s Nest and Purple mountains which rise to nearly 1,000 metres.
Lake Hotel new arrivals
2015 saw the arrival of a pair of White Egrets that have made Castlelough Bay their home in open view for all our guests from the rooms, restaurant, bar and arround the Castle.
The largest of Killarney’s three lakes, Lough Leane overlies limestone on the northern and eastern shores and sandstone on it’s southern and western shores. This geological divide has created a wide variety of habitats in and around the lakes, from wooded mountain slopes and islands to shallow reed-filled bays.
These bays in particular attract a wide range of wildfowl (23 species) and wader (17 species). Red breasted Merganser, Tufted duck and Teal all breed, while rarities such as Garganey, Goosander, Green-winged Teal and Ring necked Duck have occurred. Woodcock, Common Sandpipers and Snipe are also common breeding birds, while Jack Snipe are frequent winter visitors. Castlelough Bay is located at the eastern end of Lough Leane and has a number of small reedbeds located around it’s shores.
The largest of these lies in front of the Lake Hotel, and is best viewed from the raised pier nearby. From here one can get excellent views of Great – Crested Grebes, Sedge Warblers, Tufted Duck and Coot, with a good possibility of seeing the elusive Water Rail. The reedbeds attract a good Swallow roost in the autumn.
Red deer are often seen in the woods at the edge of the reedbeds, and there is a good chance of seeing otters here in the morning.
Within a few kilometres can be found the most diverse range of woodlands in Ireland. The nearby Muckross peninsula contains Ireland’s only Yew wood, covering 28 hectares. The mountain slopes nearby hold woods of Sessile Oak and Beech, as well as mature stands of Scots Pine, Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and other Conifers. There is also an interesting avian fauna, including Long-eared Owl, Jay, Sparrowhawk, Siskin and Crossbills. Wood Warblers and Common Redstarts are occasional.
The shores around Ross Castle are fringed by extensive Alder woods where Blackcap and other Warblers breed, and which in winter attract large flocks of Siskins, Redpolls and other Finches, as well as good numbers of wintering Chiffchaffs. Dipper and Kingfishers occur on nearby rivers, and a small flock of Greenland White-fronted Geese winter on bogs in the National Park. Twenty kilometres west of Killarney the estuary of the rivers Laune and Maine forms a rich feeding ground for many birds.
The mouth of the estuary is protected by three spits, Cromane and Rossbeigh on the south shore and Inch spit on the north shore. This whole area, Castlemaine Harbour provides a wonderful day’s birding against a spectacular backdrop of high mountains.