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Site guide: Ballyvooney Cove

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Ballyvooney Cove

Ballyvooney Cove

Grid reference:  X382973
Ordnance Survey Discovery map:  # 82

Habitat:  Open sea, rocky beach, cliffs and nearby Gull Island; scrub.
Main interest: Divers and sea-duck in small numbers; nesting seabirds, especially large gulls & Cormorants on Gull Island and Black Guillemots on mainland cliffs west towards Stradbally; Choughs; cliff-nesting Sand Martins in some years.
Scarcer species & rarities: Surf Scoter, Black Redstart.
Access:  From the west, take the Dungarvan-Tramore 'coast road' , past Clonea, to Stradbally, and take a right turn when in Stradbally village itself.  The road leads down down the small cove and parking area.  If scoter are not visible from the cove itself, better views may be had from the clifftop just to the east; with care, clifftop access is also possible to view breeding seabirds west as far as Stradbally.  (There is no defined path, however, and these cliffs should thus be considered dangerous for casual walkers.)  From the east, best approached by taking a left turn at Bunmahon and following the coast road then taking the last left turn before Stradbally.  
Further details: 
The near-regular occurrence of one or two Surf Scoters close inshore in recent years, especially in winter 2003/2004, has attracted the most attention from local and visiting birders.  There are no major flocks of Common Scoters wintering along the Waterford coast, but the small numbers here may represent the most regular flock.  Divers (especially Red-throated) can also be seen regularly in winter and spring.  Black Guillemots can  be seen further west, close to Stradbally Cove, especially in spring, although safer views can be had from the entrance to Stradbally itself.  Good numbers of Cormorants and Great Black-backed Gulls nest on Gull Island, to the west (visible from the cove).  Sand Martins sometimes nest in clay banks just below the clifftop to the west.  With a small stream and adjacent scrub, the cove itself has potential for landbird migrants, and (like most similar inlets between Dungarvan and Tramore) warrants more frequent checks in spring and autumn.
Ballyvooney Cove

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