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County Fermanagh

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Birding County Fermanagh

County Fermanagh is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. The county covers an area of 653 square miles and has a population of 61,805 (2011). Fermanagh is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the historic province of Ulster. It borders County Tyrone to the north-east, County Monaghan to the south-east, County Cavan to the south-west, County Leitrim to the west and County Donegal to the north-west. The county town, Enniskillen, is largest in both size and population in Fermanagh, and is situated in the middle of the county.

Fermanagh is mainly rural and is situated largely in the basin of the River Erne. It is dominated by two connected lakes: Upper and Lower Lough Erne; the largest bodies of water, but there are a myriad of smaller lakes as 30% of the county is covered with lakes and waterways. These Lakelands offer a natural haven for wildlife and there is ample opportunity to experience the natural diversity of the region.

Apart from the many lakes there are mountains, limestone pavements and cliffs, wooded river valleys, sandstone scarps and unspoilt hay meadows. The abundance of wildlife can be attributed to both its geology and the relatively undisturbed landscape that Fermanagh is famous for. Orchid-covered roadside verges, hedges white with hawthorn blossom, and damp fields pink with ragged robin. Winter is the time for a large influx of geese, swans and ducks.

Top Sites

Boa Island

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Castle Archdale

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Bays, islands and woodlands

Castle Caldwell

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Used to have breeding Common Scoter. Extensive woodland

Castlecaldwell /Lower Lough Erne

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Breeding waders, gulls and terns(Sandwich and common); wintering wildfowl including regular scaup, wigeon. Castlecaldwell occasionally has crossbill plus occasional singing wood warbler. Spring wader passage light but includes black-tailed godwit, whimbrel, occasional ruff, greenshank. Recent scarce visitors have included black tern (has bred '70s); Mediterranean gull, marsh harrier, little gull, ruff, great northern diver. Rares have included American wigeon, red-necked grebe and UK/Ireland's first Wilson's petrel in 1891.

Crom National Trust Estate

Possibly the most reliable and easiest access to garden warblers in spring, wintering wildfowl whooper swans and has included smew and the Baikal teal in Jan '67 (wild?); annual osprey records

Drumgay Lough

Waterfowl occasionally including scarce species e.g.long-tailed duck, smew, scaup; always a possibility of something rarer

Enniskillen tip

Good for winter gulls including glaucous, Iceland and other possibilities

Lower Lough Macnean

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An area near Gortatole with wintering Greenland White-fronted geese, whooper swans, wigeon, curlew, hen harrier, overhead peregrine, raven occasional merlin

Pettigoe Plateau

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Upland birds

Upper Lough Erne

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Upper Lough Erne is difficult to watch as there is poor access but wintering wildfowl including internationally important numbers of whooper swans, occasional gargany in spring, wood sandpiper in spring and green-winged teal have been recorded. Olderrecord of hobby.


Brad Robson - Additional Material

RSPB Warden

George Gordon

County Recorder

George Gordon

2 Brooklyn Avenue, Bangor, Co. Down BT20 5RB

028 9145 5763


Useful Reading

Fieldguides & Other Birding Books
For a full list of fieldguides and other books see the general UK or Republic of Ireland page

Where to Watch Birds in Ireland

by Paul Milne & Clive Hutchinson | Christopher Helm | 2009 | Paperback | 336 pages |

ISBN: 9781408105214

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

South Tyrone & Fermanagh BTO Rep

PS Grosse, 30 Tullybroom Road, Clogher, BT76 0UW 028 8554 8606


RSPB Fermanagh Local Group

The group's aim is to support actively the work of the RSPB in the local community and to involve RSPB members and the wider public in the Society's conservation, public affairs, education, fundraising and other activities. We have regular monthly indoor meetings locally throughout the year and have occasional day-trips to local nature reserves. Contact: Sandra Trimble: 02889521885 - rwgtrimble@googlemail.com


Abbreviations Key

NNR Killykeegan


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This nature reserve's limestone grassland is managed through conservation grazing and is characterized by low growing plants such as thyme and bird's foot trefoil. Bird's foot trefoil is the food plant of the caterpillars of the rare dingy skipper butterfly, which can be found here in early summer together with the common blue and another rarity, the marsh fritillary butterfly. Rarities found here include field gentian and the small white mountain orchid. Hazel scrub has found a niche within the nature reserve as well. Here you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a red squirrel, pine martens or Irish stoat. Cuckoos can be heard calling as they seek out meadow pipits' nests in which to lay their eggs.

RSPB Aghatirourke


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Aghatirourke is part of the Cuilcagh Mountain World Geopark in County Fermanagh. It's an area of extensive upland blanket bog, bordered by limestone grassland to the north and montane heath to the south. In spring, wheatears and sand martins abound, while hen harriers and peregrines hunt overhead in summer.

RSPB Lower Lough Erne


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Lower Lough Erne Islands Reserve in County Fermanagh is the most westerly of all RSPB reserves in the UK. It consists of more than 40 islands on a large freshwater lake, home to lapwings, curlews, snipe and a unique inland colony of breeding Sandwich terns, and is managed as lowland wet grassland meadows or broadleaf woodland sites. A species rich hay meadow at Lowery Farm and large area of forestry at Castle Caldwell.

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Coolbeg Farm


The farmhouse enjoys a private lakeside location on its own 40 acres of farm land and private loch shore. Coolbeg Farm is a site of special scientific interest with a protected population of otters and swans. From the cottage and garden there are uninterrupted views of upper Lough Erne and its many islands and sunset views of Cuilcagh and Benaughlin mountains...

View Point Guest House


Just off the Enniskillen - Tempo Road (B80) in the heart of County Fermanagh, View Point guest house is a Northern Ireland Tourist Board Approved Country House Accommodation, situated to allow easy access to a range of tourist amenities and within minutes of the historic town of Enniskillen.

Other Links

Birdwatching in County Fermanagh


List of sites: The silences of Lough Erne are spring-broken by courting waders and wildfowl. The characteristic habitats of Lower Lough Erne are traditional hay meadows and unimproved islands. On the upper lake flooded drumlins, reed-swamp and fen are the pattern.