The River Suir ...Wildlife
along the Valley and Estuary.
Wildlife is dealth with from the Estuary to Poll an Fhírinne at the foot of the Devil's Bit in Tipperary not far from Templemore.
Later information on shore birds will be available.
The Suir Valley has one of the finest resources of wild life available on both sides of the Suir. Waterford has many small mountain lakes and wildlife sanctuaries such as Coolfin and Ballyshonock Reservoir among many others. Coolfin has one of the largest winter nesting grounds of Barnacle, Greylag and White Fronted Goose.
These may also be seen at Portnascully and Fiddown Island.
Suir Valley showing parts of Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny and Tipperary with its 35 Tributaries
Singing Bird lyrics
Thanks to Barry Taylor for permission to insert the music and Lyric
The kingfisher is one of the
many birds that can be found along the River Suir from Waterford
Their bodies are short and plump, and their legs and feet are small.
They eat fish.
The kingfisher is found in mild warm places.
They nest in tunnels in earth banks and lay pure white eggs.
The nest is lined with only old fish bones.
The kingfisher has green, blue, orange and white feathers.
They also eat minnows, fry and small fish.
It is about 16cm. Its habits are waits patiently on its perch and dives expertly.
It is one of the best fishing birds.
It bores a hole upwards. It has a dagger beak.
Perches on branches waiting to dive and catch fish.
The pheasants inhabit farms and
Its size range is 55cm to 90cm.
Its weight range is 900g to 1300g.
Its lifespan is 1-8 years.
They live in small flocks and leave their roosts at daybreak to feed in farmers fields or meadows.
Pheasants are larger than chickens but smaller than wild turkeys.
The female chooses the nest site.
It is usually located in rushy fields and ditches.
Sometimes eggs will be laid in the nests of other birds such as mallards and grouse.
After hatching young pheasants are usually looked after by the female only.
Eventually the male joins the female to offer protection.
Small mammals such as the red fox are a threat to young pheasants and incubating eggs.
They hide in burrows when they see an enemy in their territory.
They enjoy plenty of insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.
When a pheasant is disturbed from its covered roost, it rises in a loud whirr of rustling.
It flaps and croaks as it shoots almost straight up into the air. Thi s makes it easy to shoot.
Silage cutting methods have destroyed many eggs.
Pheasants often visit house gardens and are almost tame because they are often raised in domestically.
Dippers are the only truly water songbirds.
They have plump bodies and a very short tail, often cocked up.
Dippers nest near rushing streams, waterfalls, bridges and mountain, and capable of walking and swimming under water in search of insect larvae and fish eggs.
Its habits are dives for its food.
It has a white breast.
Another view of the
This large black diving bird comes far up
river to fish in Winter and Spring .
It flies over the valley like an immense goose and it lands in trees,especially dead ones to roost and spread its wings.
It also used to nest wildly inland on larger lakes.
Ducks differ from geese and swans of the same family by their shorter necks and legs and other differences.
The legs of most ducks are placed far apart and toward the rear, making them awkward walkers but efficient swimmers.
They have flat beaks lined with bony notches, for straining plant and animal matter from water. In a few species, male and female are alike in colour, but mostly the males are more brightly coloured.
Nests of most species are on the ground, containing from 4 to 12 eggs, surrounded by down feathers plucked from the females breast and belly. Ducklings are able to swim and feed themselves soon after they hatch.
The snipe is a medium sized bird.
It has the longest beak in proportion to its body.
Its size is 26cm to 29cm.
Its weight is 90g to 175g.
The snipe is a water bird that lives in freshwater marshes, streams, ponds, and wet meadows.
Its habitat includes the open country surrounding these areas of water. Sometimes it inhabits saltwater marshes.
The male performs a courtship flight display, usually at dust or dawn, by flying very high and then diving steeply through the air with its tail feathers fanned.
When disturbed snipes take off in a rapid zigzag pattern, producing a harsh, rasping alarm call.
They can also swim and dive, using their feet and wings to push themselves underwater.
The female chooses a dry spot among the marshy wet grass for a nest, molding the surrounding moist field material into a cup shape and then lining it with dry, finer materials.
Chicks, usually four ) are reared by both parents are fairly independent within two weeks of hatching .
Its lifespan is to six years.
The snipe prefers to feed in small groups at dusk or later.
The beak is blunt at its tip and is extremely useful in feeling for and "snapping up" food.
They eat plenty of insects, such as horseflies, dragonflies, beetles, water bugs, crickets and caterpillars.
The snipe drinks a great deal of water daily. Snipes are victims of birds of prey like the owl.
Snipes also have problems with egg-stealing mammals such as foxes.
The eyes of the snipe are set far back on either side of its head.
This feature enables it to see both ahead and behind, which gives it an added advantage while wresting in its ground cover or when busy feeding with its beak deep into the mud.
It is difficult to shoot.
The coot is a black waterbird .
It is 40cm long.
It has light green and yellow legs, with red eyes, a white and grey throat.
It feeds mainly on small plants.It lays 6-9 eggs from late March to June.The eggs hatch in 22 days and they leave the nest 40 to 50 days later.It makes a loud and sharp sound "kewk".
Its habitat is calm freshwater.
It scurries into reeds when frightened.
The blackbird is a native bird.
It is 25cm long.
Males are jet black with a yellow beak and a ring around the eye.
The females and the young are brown with slight speckling on the breast.
Its habitat is gardens, woodlands, fields and hedgerows.
It feeds on insects, berries and worms.
It nests in cups of trees and hedges and lays 4-5 light blue eggs in March to May.
It hatches in 12-16 days and leaves the nest after another 20 days.
It makes a loud alarm call and sings a loud musical song.
The Heron is a large slender grey bird.
It is 1 metre long with a yellow beak and legs.
It has a long white neck with a black stripe on the front.
It has a white head with a thin black crest and it has a slow wing beat.
Its habitat is the edge of river bank and ponds.
It feeds on fish, eels, small birds and amphibians.
It builds its nest on platform in treetops, and bushes.
It lays 4-5 light bluey/green eggs in February to April it hatches in about 25 days, it leaves the nest in 50 days after hatching.
It makes a loud, clear " frarnk".
Mute Swans are pure white swans with large
bodies, long wings, and gracefully curved necks that can be even
longer than their bodies.
You can tell them apart from other swans by the black knobs on their beaks, and by the bright orange colour in black of the beak.
They have stout legs spaced far apart which work overtime to hold up their heavy bodies.
They have short tails and thickly webbed feet for swimming.
It is 142cm to 152cm
Its weight is 9.7kg to 11.8kg.
They live on large bodies of water such as rivers and lakes
Their lifespan is 1-20 years.
Mute Swans are well built for water hunting.
Their long bodies slide easily through the water, and their long necks crane deep below the surface to pull up plants and animals.
They are mostly plant-eaters, but they won't hesitate to snack on snails, worms, and small fish.
Mute swans are most common around the country.
Mute Swans mate for life.
All curlews are long-legged shorebirds, buff
in colour with varying amounts of black markings on the back and
Its size is 28 to 60cm.
Its weight is 742g to 839g.
Its beak is 15cm.
It picks fish, and insects from the mud with its long beak.
They eat fish and worms.
During nesting season curlews are found on marshy areas, water-meadows, sand dunes and other damp country.
Most jays are smaller and more brightly
coloured than other members of the family.
Most are noisy and are often found in flocks outside the breeding season.
They eat nuts, acorns, seeds, small amphibians, insects and sometimes the eggs and young of other birds.
All jays have a bright blue and black barred patch on the wing coverts.
Most are about 33 to 36cm long.-
The chaffinch is 15cm (6 in) long.
The male has a slate-blue crown and nape, chestnut, greenish rump and pink-to-rust face and breast.
At its shoulders are white wing bars, and in flight the white outer tail feathers show.
The female is light olive-brown above, paler below.
They nest in woods, hedges or gardens, often having two broods in the same year.
Young male chaffinches learn the song of adults near them, and the song of birds from different localities.
The true magpies are the black-billed magpie
and yellow-billed magpie.
The black-billed magpie is about 44 to 55cm (about 17.3 to 22in) long.
The yellow-billed is smaller.
These are birds of open; partly wooded, or farm country.
Their bulky nests, composed mostly of sticks, are placed in trees; six to nine eggs are laid, which are usually greenish-blue with dark markings.
They feed on insects, nestlings, and eggs of other birds, small mammals, leaves and fruit.
In winter they can often be seen at garbage dumps.
The wren is a small bird with a short neck,
plump body, a short tail, and short round wings.
It is speckled in different shades of brown all over, with lighter patches under the throat and wings, and dark areas on its back and tail.
Its long, sharp beak is fully open when it sings.
Its two distinguishing markings are the black lines on its wings and tail and the faint white highlights above its eyes.
There is no difference in colouring in the male and female, although the males are slightly larger.
The wren is 7.5cm to 12.5cm and its weight is 8g to 15g.
The wrens diet consists of grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, caterpillars, ants, bees, wasps, flies, bugs, ticks and spiders.
Sometimes they eat cabbage white butterflies, or gypsy moths.
They use their long beaks to capture and store many insects at a time.
Male wrens will destroy the eggs of other wrens.
Yellow Hammers are yellow of course that's
why they are called yellowhammers.
They also have brown and orange shading on their wings, back and tail.
The outer tail feathers are pure white, and the belly of females is off-white.
The male perks up its bright yellow head to impress a mate.
The beak is tiny but strong for breaking open tough seeds.
The tail and wings of yellowhammers are long for easy flying.
Its size is 15cm to 21cm and its weight is 20g to 30g.
Habitat : open-country spaces.
Its lifespan is 1-3 years.
They eat spiders and nestlings and seeds.
Their pointed little beaks are great for hammering open seed shells.
Enemies: minks, wolves, cats and birds of prey.
The moorhen is a blue-slated bird with a
It has a bold white patch at each side under the cocked tail.
Its beak is red with a yellow tip.
Moorhen youngsters are dull, it has a paler brown than adults with a white side stripe and it has a greenish blackish beak.
Moorhens have green legs with long, thin toes.
It is 33cm long and its weight is 200-380g.
It has a springy walk and its jerky tail flicks running into cover if it is disturbed.
The tufted ducks weight is 350-950g and its size is 41-45cm long.
The nest is often close to water, in long grass, with 6-14 greenish eggs.
They hatch after 23-26 days and the ducklings can fly after six weeks.
They often gather in scores or hundreds together.
The long-eared owl can stretch itself upright, but looks dumpy when relaxed; both are short-tailed and big-headed owls.
It prefers woods, shelter belts and thickets near marshes.
In flight long-eared owls shows dark underside, wings with orange-buff patch near tip.
The wood pigeon has a pinkish full breast.
It has white patches on either side of the short neck and each wing.
Its tail ends in a broad black band.
The wood pigeon is a small headed bird with a short slender beak.
It is 40cm long and its weight is 400-550g.
The legs are short and purplish red-brighter in breeding season-with the strong clambering of a treebird.
The robins size is 15cm and its weight is 18-20g.
The robins forehead, face and breast are orange-red, edged blue-grey.
The adult is pale olive-brown below and it is sandy brown above.
It has a thin dark beak and very spindly legs.
In spring its colour is ginger-brown with brownish planks.
The adult is pale olive-brown below and it is sandy brown above.
It has a thin dark beak and very spindy legs.
In spring its colour ginger-brown with pale spots above and dark scales below.
The robin is careful to protect its territory.
The bullfinch has short strong beak and pink breast.
The male is greyish - brown above and pinkish-brown below.
The head and most of the wings and tail are black and the wings are crossed with a white bar.
They are taught to whistle several tunes.
Lapwings are found on grasslands, some are found on ploughed fields.
They lay 3-5 pale brown blotched dark eggs.
Their nests have very little lining.
Lapwings are 28-31cm long and their weight is 150-300g.
They eat a lot of worms.
The lapwing is also found in flocks.
The male attracts the female to a nest site by scraping.
He shows his chestnut feathers and utters a long wheezing call.
In summer, adult males are easy to identfy by the all black chin, throat and breast.
The long black crest is longer than in females.
BEWICK'S SWAN AND WHOOPER SWAN
Bewick's swans is one of Irelands smallest swans.
They have short, thick necks and short black and yellow beak.
Whooper swans are also one of Irelands smallest swans.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between whooper and bewicks swans.
Whoopers have long, slender necks and sloped foreheads.
There is more yellow on their beaks, which have only a bit of black at the tip.
The merlin has sharp-pointed wings and its flight is very fast and very low, and it often perches on the ground.
The female is dark brown above and creamy beneath with heavy dark streaks and creamy white cheeks.
The male is blue-grey above and orange-buff below, it can look strongly coloured in sun but paler in dull light.
The male has a grey tail with a dark band and the females tail is barred brown and cream.
Its size is 27-32cm and its weight is 125-300g.
The kestrel has a dark outer wings, which show up well against the paler inner half.
The male has a grey head, a blue-grey tail with a black band.
The female has a barred brown tail.
Its size is 33cm and its weight is 120-300g.
It has bright orange-brown upper-parts.
The male has dark spots and the female has dark bars in close view.
The shelduck has a black and dark green head.
Its beak is red.
Its legs are pink and it has a bit of orange-brown around the front of its body.
Ihas a whitish face.
Its size is 60cm and its weight is 950-1,400g.
The wigeons forehead is pale yellow and it has a small black beak.
The male is pale blue-grey with a chestnut-brown head and its tail is black and white at the end.
The male shows its large white wing patch.
The female is dark rusty-brown with a chestnut-brown head, it has a short grey beak and a steep forehead.
Its size is 45cm and its weight is 550-1,000g.
It has short dark grey legs.
The dunnocks beak is thin and dark coloured.
Most of its head is grey except for the streaked, browner cheeks.
Its legs are thin, pale orange and its tail is plain dark brown.
Its under side is grey.
The sides of the breast is bright brown.
Its size is 15cm and its weight is 20-24g.
The siskins cap and chin is black.
Its belly is pure white and its flanks are streaked black.
The male is colourful with a yellow-green breast and black wings with yellow bars.
It has a yellow-green rump with a deeply forked tail which has a yallow patch at each side.
The female is greyer than the male, whiter underneath with long fine, dark streaks.
The wings of the female are blackish with sharp pale bars.
Its size is 12cm and its weight is 12-17g.
The goldcrest is the smallest Irish bird.
It is 8-9cm long.
It is even smaller than the wren.
It flys from branch to branch.
It breeds in deciduous woodlands.
After nesting goldcrests join flocks of small birds and may visit other habitats.
The birds eat insects and spiders.
The nest hangs from thin branches, and the 9-11 eggs hatch after 16 days.
The young fly after 19 days.
The kittiwake is a costal bird, it is similar to the common gull but has black legs and black tips on the wings, it has a small yellow and a small black strip on its head.
Its habitatis in the open sea, cliffs, harbours and rocky shores.
It feeds on fish and scraps from fishing trawlers.
The kittiwake builds its nest on grass on the ledges of the cliffs, 2 eggs are laid in may that hatch in 26-29 days.
There is a huge colony in Dunmore East.
The shag is smaller than the cormorant.
The adult is greenish-black, with forward-curling crest when breeding.
The beak is black with a yellow base.
They fly low over the water, with neck outstretched.
The skylark's soars high in the sky and is well known for its song.
It eats insects and seeds.
The nest is on the ground, and the 3-5 eggs hatch after 11 days.
The young leave the nest at 8 days, fly after 18 days and depend on their parents for another week.
The Lark in the Air
The blue tit lives in lowland habitats where there are a lot of deciduous trees.
It will also vist other habitats, such as gardens and reed- beds, especially in winter.
It feeds on insects, fruits and seeds.
A nest of moss and grasses is built in a hole in a tree, or in a nest box.
Between 6-16 eggs hatch after 14 days and the young fly 16-22 days later.
LONG TAILED TIT
The long tailed tit has a tiny body and a very long tail.
The beautiful nest is made of moss, twigs and spiders webs.
The 8-12 eggs hatch after 15 days.
Other adults may assist parents to feed their young which fly after 14 days.
The oystercatcher has long orange beak, which is tipped yellowish.
In summer adults show a black head and breast, with black upperparts showing a white wingbar.
The under parts are white.
The white tail shows a black band.
It has a white rump which extends as a white edge onto the back.
In the winter adults show a white band from the throat to the sides of the neck.
Adults have red eyes and an orange-red eye-ring.
The stout legs are flesh-pink on adults a duller beak, a white neck band, yellowish eye-rings and greyish legs.
Greylag geese from Greenland wintering at Darrigle near Coolfin Portlaw Co. Waterford. According to records upwards on 500 geese winter here.
This Project is by:
Sharon Walsh not on screen
4th class for SIP : ......Schools Integrated Project.