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Akeragh Lough lies on the coast of Kerry in the south-west of Ireland and is famous in the birding world as one of the premier sites for vagrant North American waders and waterfowl on this side of the Atlantic.
It is a large and shallow, somewhat brackish lake behind the sand-dunes that line the shores of Ballyheige Bay to the north of Tralee. Fringed by reedbeds and surrounded by damp grassland, the lake itself often dries out considerably in summer.
The waders present at the lough is dependent on water levels and the nearby beach may sometimes be much more productive.
Although the numbers of North American vagrants reaching Akeragh do not seem to match those of a few decades ago there is still an excellent chance of something special turning up in autumn. Pectoral Sandpiper is annual and double figures are reached in some years.
Other waders recorded here include Solitary, Baird's, White-rumped, Western and Least Sandpipers, Killdeer and American Golden Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher and Stilt Sandpiper. Most of the European waders also occur here in autumn including Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint, Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Green and Wood Sandpipers.
Various ducks are regular in autumn and winter including Gadwall, Northern Pintail and Red-breasted Merganser and both Bewick's and Whooper Swans occur in small numbers.
Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin hunt over the marshes in winter and Red-billed Chough feed in the surrounding fields.
Birds you can see here include:
Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Red-billed Chough, Hooded Crow
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
The lough lies to the south of the village of Ballyheige and is private property. However, it can be visited by leaving the village centre southwards on a rough track past some caravans, parking beside the track and exploring on foot.
Alternatively, the lough can be viewed from busy Route105 which passes the lake on the landward side. A minor road to the right just after a bridge leads to the southern part of the lake.
Further south off the 105 is another turning on the right leads to a sluice and the beach.
Content and images originally posted by Steve