The importance of the Dollymount Slipway for birds

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The construction of the coastal cycleway between the Wooden Bridge and the Causeway is likely to impact on the important bird roost site at the slipway in the southern mudflats opposite Dollymount Avenue. This roost site which has been in use for many decades is well know to local ornithologists, regularly holds nationally important concentrations of migratory and over-wintering redshanks and turnstones. Photographs displayed on this page were taken on 11th April 2014 during spring migration and show 483 Redshanks at roost during a high tide. This number of roosting Redshanks exceeded the threshold for national importance (300) and was equivalent to c.25% to 30% of the wintering redshank population in Dublin Bay. In the past up to 550 migratory and wintering Redshanks have been counted roosting here mostly from late June through to late April.

Other bird species observed roosting on the slipway in recent years have been little egret, grey heron, knot, dunlin, oystercatcher, black-tailed godwit, bar-tailed godwit, curlew, greenshank and whimbrel. Occasionally cormorant, mallard, red-breasted merganser and common, black-headed, herring, lesser black-backed and great black-backed gulls roost here too. In addition, harbour seals that feed in the south lagoon at high tide occasionally haul-out on the slipway.

Regrettably, since becoming a Nature Reserve in 1988, North Bull Island has lost two important coastal breeding bird species (Little Tern and Ringed Plover) and the once common Irish Hares are on the verge of extinction of extinction for the second time in two decades. Precisely what impact increased disturbance levels from the new cycleway will have on this roost site is uncertain at present.

The slipway is a very important and integral part of the National Nature Reserve (NNR), Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) and Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and deserves to be fully protected from damage or interference.
Birds of North Bull Island - Dublin Bay (2017) All Rights Reserved.