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Brent Goose

Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) are dark birds, with a black head and neck and a dark grey back. Adults have a small white patch on their necks and their bellies can be light or dark coloured depending on the race.

Brent Goose

The Irish birds arriving from Canada and Greenland in October are white bellied. They depart again in March or April, returning to their breeding grounds for the summer months. Geese are generally shy and elusive and require large, undisturbed open spaces to feed and roost.

Each winter Ireland hosts virtually the entire population of these geese and many sites around the country are internationally important for the conservation of the species. The birds generally concentrate around estuaries and salt marshes and nearby fields eating vegetation, particularly eel grass.

They are very vocal birds and will call in flight and on the ground with a loud 'cronking' noise.

The Brent Goose is on the amber list of species requiring particular conservation measures.

Cromane and Castlemaine Harbour, provide wonderful bird sightings against a spectacular backdrop of the mountains on the Dingle Peninsula. When the tide drops off, large areas of mudflats are exposed behind Inch and Glenbeigh. In autumn, this area is best visited on the incoming tide, when the wildfowl and waders are pushed upshore and thus easier to view.

Large numbers of Wigeon, Pale-bellied Brent, Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Dunlin and Knot congregate behind Inch with lesser numbers of Pintail, Teal and Bar-tailed Godwits. Also some American Wigeon. On the south shore, Cromane Point holds many Turnstones and is visited by Short-eared Owls, Egrets and Black Redstarts.

Cromane and Rossbeigh are noted for the Brent Goose and Chough, many of which frequent the sand dunes outside the breeding season.

Offshore, winters one of Ireland's largest flocks of Common, Velvet and Surf Scoter. Also Red-throated divers winter here.

Images of Cromane, Co. Kerry