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Dublin Port is located in the centre of Dublin Bay – a spectacular habitat for Dublin wildlife such as wild birds and other animals. Up to 30,000 birds use the Bay in winter including geese, ducks, waders, gulls and grebes. They migrate from places as far away as northern Canada and Siberia. The Bay is one of the most important places in Ireland for winter birds. A flock of Brent Geese uses the Port for feeding and Cormorants perch on the jetties.
In summer there is a large nesting colony of terns on some of the mooring structures in the Port. By August and September, these terns flock on the sand bars of Sandymount and Merrion strands. Black Guillemots are one of the resident birds in the port, nesting in drainage pipes and other cavities.
Out in the bay Harbour Porpoises are a regular sight, especially around Howth Head. Bottlenose Dolphins are often seen around Dalkey Island and occasional Minke Whales visit to feed in the Bay. Seals haul out of the water to bask on the northern end of the Bull island near Sutton.
The Bull Island itself is an important nature reserve managed by Dublin City Council. It includes beach, sand dunes, saltmarsh and mudflats. It is a great place to find coastal plants and insects such as rare butterflies and other Dublin wildlife.
(Photographs of terns nesting at Dublin Port & Brent Geese at Alexandra Basin, Richard Nairn)
If you are interested in finding out more about the varied biodiversity of the Dublin Bay area and Dublin wildlife there are a lot of different websites you might like to visit:
Photos and text courtesy of Richard Nairn, Natura Environmental Consultants
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