Recog­ni­tion for har­bour wildlife fa­cil­ity

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Sean O’Rior­dan

A num­ber of groups have come to­gether to an­nounce that they in­tend to de­velop an area in Gloun­thaune as a wildlife habi­tat, which will be­come a mecca for bird­watch­ers.

Cork har­bour is in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised for its wet­lands and the thou­sands of birds who rely on the area, with many trav­el­ling from as far as Canada and Siberia.

More than 24 dif­fer­ent wa­ter­bird species, sev­eral of which are de­clin­ing in num­bers na­tion­ally, can be found on Harper’s Is­land, in Gloun­thaune.

Species such as Wi­geon, a dab­bling duck from Ice­land, as well as the Ice­landic Black­tailed God­wits, to­gether with six species of wad­ing birds that breed mainly in the Arc­tic zone, con­firm the im­por­tance of the area which is owned by Cork County Coun­cil.

en­sure its pro­tec­tion and main­te­nance the coun­cil, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Bird­watch Ire­land, Gloun­thaune Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion (with as­sis­tance from Gloun­thaune Tidy Towns and Gloun­thaune Men’s Shed) and the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice have an­nounced plans to de­velop Harpers Is­land into a wildlife habi­tat.

A strate­gi­cally-placed bird hide has re­cently been in stalled by the coun­cil with a view to open­ing the fa­cil­ity to the gen­eral pub­lic. This view­ing plat­form is ac­cessed via a screened path­way to min­imise dis­tur­bance to the birds feed­ing on the es­tu­ar­ine mud.

A com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the coun­cil to­gether with the other part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions been formed with a view to co­or­di­nat­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the site, pri­mar­ily with a view to pro­tect­ing the wildlife amenity but also look­ing at how it can be used as an ed­u­ca­tion and tourism fa­cil­ity.

Cllr An­thony Barry said he’s de­lighted to see the work pro­gress­ing at this lo­ca­tion.

“It could not have been achieved with­out the sup­port of the coun­cil who ac­tively en­gaged with the lo­cal com­mu­nity to en­sure that this won­der­ful pro­ject will reach its full po­ten­tial,” he said.

The coun­cil has al­ready spent €26,000 on the site.

Pic­ture: David Keane

The view­ing hide at Harper’s Is­land wet­land ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre sup­ported by Cork County Coun­cil, in Gloun­thaune.

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