Bird Life at Sheskinmore

Sheskinmore Geese - Michele Clements - October 2013

Sheskinmore Geese – Michele Clements – October 2013

To date at least 117 bird species have been recorded at or from Sheskinmore Nature Reserve. The list below gives some details of their status on site.

Please feel free to comment in the reply box at the end of the page if you have seen or heard other bird species at Sheskinmore.

  • Mute Swan Cygnus olor Resident, breeding.
  • Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus Wintering.
  • Snow Goose Anser caerulescens Rare winter migrant.
  • White-fronted Goose (Greenland) Anser albifrons flavirostris Wintering.
  • Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus Unusual winter migrant.
  • Canada Goose Branta canadensis.
  • Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis Wintering.
  • Brent Goose (Light-bellied) Branta bernicla hrota Wintering.
  • Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 
  • Wigeon Anas penelope Wintering.
  • Teal Anas crecca Wintering.
  • Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Resident, breeding.
  • Tufted Duck Athya fuligula
  • Eider Somateria mollissima 
  • Common Scoter Melanitta nigra Wintering.
  • Goldeneye Bucephala clangula Unusual winter migrant.
  • Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
  • Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
  • Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata Wintering.
  • Great Northern Diver Gavia immer Wintering.
  • Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
  • Gannet Morus bassanus Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Irregular visitor.
  • Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis Resident, non-breeding.
  • Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Bittern Botaurus stellaris Rare visitor.
  • Peregrine Falco peregrinus Irregular visitor, possibly breeding in some years.
  • Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus Very rare migrant.
  • Merlin Falco columbarius Wintering.
  • Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Resident, breeds in some years.
  • Osprey Pandion haliaetus Unusual spring and autumn passage migrant.
  • Buzzard Buteo buteo Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus Wintering.
  • Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus Rare spring and autumn passage migrant.
  • Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos Unusual visitor from reintroduced population at Glenveagh.
  • Coot Fulica atra Irregular visitor.
  • Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Resident, probably breeding.
  • Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Resident, probably breeding.
  • Turnstone Arenaria interpres Wintering.
  • Greenshank Tringa nebularia (Emer Magee)
  • Redshank Tringa totanus
  • Curlew Numenius arquata Resident, non-breeding.
  • Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Spring and autumn passage migrant.
  • Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
  • Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa 
  • Woodcock Scolopax rusticola Wintering.
  • Snipe Gallinago gallinago Resident, breeding.
  • Dunlin Calidris alpina 
  • Sanderling Calidris alba Wintering.
  • Knot Calidris canutus Wintering.
  • Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Resident, breeding.
  • Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria Wintering.
  • Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula Resident, breeding.
  • Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus Rare spring and autumn passage migrant.
  • Great Skua Stercorarius skua Rare winter visitor.
  • Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus Resident, non-breeding.
  • Herring Gull Larus argentatus Resident, non-breeding.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Resident, non-breeding.
  • Common Gull Larus canus Resident, non-breeding.
  • Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus Resident, non-breeding.
  • Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla Irregular visitor.
  • Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Common Tern Sterna hirundo Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
  • Razorbill Alca torda Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Guillemot Uria aalge Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Woodpigeon Columba palumbus Resident, probably breeding.
  • Cuckoo Cuculus canorus Summer migrant, probably breeding.
  • Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
  • Swift Apus apus Summer migrant, non-breeding.
  • Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
  • Skylark Alauda arvensis Resident, breeding.
  • Sand Martin Riparia riparia Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Swallow Hirundo rustica Summer migrant, breeding.
  • House Martin Delichon urbicum Summer migrant.
  • Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis Resident, breeding.
  • Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus Resident, breeding.
  • Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii Resident, breeding.
  • Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Resident, breeding.
  • Dunnock Prunella modularis Resident, breeding.
  • Robin Erithacus rubecula Resident, breeding.
  • Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Summer migrant, possibly breeding.
  • Stonechat Saxicola rubicola Resident, breeding.
  • Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Blackbird Turdus merula Resident, breeding.
  • Song Thrush Turdus philomelos Resident, probably breeding.
  • Redwing Turdus iliacus Wintering.
  • Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus Resident, probably breeding.
  • Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Whitethroat Sylvia communis Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Summer migrant, breeding.
  • Goldcrest Regulus regulus
  • Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
  • Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus Resident, breeding.
  • Great Tit Parus major Resident, breeding.
  • Jay Garrulus glandarius
  • Magpie Pica pica Resident, breeding.
  • Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Resident, have been observed mating on site but no nests found. Numbers increase in winter.
  • Jackdaw Corvus monedula Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Rook Corvus frugilegus Resident, non-breeding.
  • Hooded Crow Corvus cornix Resident, breeding.
  • Raven Corvus corax Resident, breeding.
  • Starling Sturnus vulgaris Resident, probably breeding.
  • Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Resident, breeding.
  • Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Resident, breeding.
  • Linnet Carduelis cannabina Resident, breeding.
  • Twite Carduelis flavirostris Wintering.
  • Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret 
  • Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Resident, possibly breeding.
  • Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis Occasionally wintering.
  • Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus Resident, breeding.



Dunlin and Redshank formerly bred on site and may still do so occasionally. A few other common species such as Fieldfare Turdus pilaris and Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita would be expected to occur but have not yet been recorded to our knowledge.


10 thoughts on “Bird Life at Sheskinmore

  1. Sorry I just saw your question there today! Not sure when the swallows returned. I wasn’t up at Sheskinmore enough over the spring to note the date. I did monitor the raven nest at Tramore though and three young fledged successfully. I’ll put up a post about it soon. I enjoyed your post about the Bee Orchids.

  2. Got a 109th species yesterday: Long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus.

    Surprised I’ve never recorded them before. Also saw peregrine, kestrel, chough and woodcock yesterday.

  3. 110th species recorded on trail camera in the woods in Feb 2015; Jay Garrulus glandarius. Interesting as this species wasn’t recorded as far west in the 2007-11 Bird Atlas.

    • Yes it is Emer! Greenshank always a good bird to see. The list is just a mix of what I’ve seen and other species documented in the few sources available. Still a good few potential species to be recorded!

  4. I’ve updated the list to include jay, long-tailed tit, greenshank and lesser redpoll. And also kingfisher which I saw at Carrickalahagh in 2007 but forgot to include in the original list.

    @obeckett: I’d suggest that at that open location and time of year the birds you saw were possibly linnets? They’re very similar to redpolls in summer plumage. Redpolls prefer alder and conifer woodlands and are more common in winter. However it’s likely that there are redpolls in the scrub and woodland at Sheskinmore so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and add them to the list.

  5. Hi Stephen. I hope life is treating you well. Have you any visits to Donegal planned in the forseeable future? I just thought I’d let you know that we got a brilliant sighting of a pair of Whinchats, in the rough pasture to the west of Sandfield Lough at the end of last month; they are handsome wee birds.
    All the best

    • Just seen your post Michael, great pic and record. Whinchats are interesting birds, I saw and heard a lot on Salisbury Plain last year, they often include mimicry of other species in their songs. I’ll add whinchat (and house martin, Emer!) to the list above.

      I should be about some time in Sept or Oct but not sure of exact dates yet.

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