Birdwatching Sites - South Dublin

Newcastle & BirdWatch Ireland's East Coast Reserve

Description

Newcastle Station House is at Six-Mile-Point, south of Kilcoole (point A), where there is a foot crossing of the railway tracks, which carry the Dublin to Wexford line. This building is all that remains of Newcastle train station. The village of Newcastle is about 1 mile inland from here.
BirdWatch Ireland's East Coast Reserve at Blackditch extends about 1 mile south from Six-Mile-Point covering an area of roughly 250 acres. The land was acquired late in 2002 and habitat management on the reserve began in 2004. There are three hides on the reserve, the Main Hide (point C) overlooks the Scrape Field, the West Hide (point D) is on the same latitude as the Main Hide about 200m to the west of it and the Wood Hide (point F) looks north from the edge of Blackditch Wood. The hides are accessed from the main entrance to the reserve on the Sea Road (point B). Turn left and follow the purpose-built paths which swing to the right for the Main and West Hides. Instead of swinging right continue straight on for the Wood Hide, keeping the hedge and the road on your left. When you reach the Station House by the railway, the path turns right and continues along by the fence. Keep walking south on this grassy track for several hundred metres until it turns right and westwards into the wood where a boardwalk leads to the Wood Hide.
The whole area is a wonderful mix of coastal marsh, flooded fields, reed beds, farmland, woodland and shingle beach ideal for birding. The southern border of the reserve is covered in wet woodland of mainly Birch as well as some Alder, Willow and Ash.


Getting There and Access

Although they pass through it, trains have not stopped at Newcastle train station since the 1960s. Dublin Bus provides a service to Newcastle village from the city centre and Blacrock with routes 84x and 84a, however neither route is regular. There is some parking available on the Sea Road beside the train station and where you can cross the railway line by foot. There is very limited parking at the entrance to the reserve.


Birds

Newcastle

From the station check out to sea for Gannets, Divers, Grebes, Cormorants, Shags, Gulls (including Little Gull), Brent Geese etc during autumn and winter. A passage of Manx Shearwaters moving north or south on the Irish Sea is a regular feature during the summer as they move to and from their breeding sites in the Irish Sea.
A small flock of House Sparrows can be seen around the Station House and follow the path running south of it scanning back over the pools and fields inland for wildfowl and waders; Little Egret is often present too.
North of the Sea Road is the Newcastle Aerodrome. Kestrel are often observed over the airfield and in some winters, Short-eared Owl.

Blackditch

Upon entering the reserve turn left heading for the main hide. The trees and bushes along the path are excellent for passerines such as Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Tits, Reed Buntings etc. As the path swing to the right and just before the reeds look for bird feeders strategically placed in a tree near the corner of the field (point G). From here turn left along the path through the reeds, which hold Water Rail and Reed Buntings
The Main and West Hides (points C & D) afford excellent views over the scrape and flooded fields where you can expect Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Shoveler, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Little Egret and Little Grebe, also check on gate posts for Merlin.
A very pleasant walk to the other side of the reserve will bring you to the Wood Hide (point F), which looks back at the Main and West Hides over the same fields.


Some Notable Records for Newcastle

  • Blue-winged Teal
    1. 11th - 24th September 1994 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Surf Scoter
    1. 4th - 18th November 1967 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Black-crowned Night Heron
    1. 13th - 16th June 1994 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Cattle Egret
    1. 9th - 13th November 2007 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Glossy Ibis
    1. 4th - 18th December 1999
  • Montagu's Harrier
    1. 3 birds, winters of 1918-19 & 1919-20 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Hobby
    1. 10th May 1953
    2. 29th September 1977
    3. 2nd July 2003
    4. 25th July 2010
    5. 11th - 13th May 2011 (also seen at Five-Mile-Point)
    6. 15th June 2013
    7. 6th - 8th October 2013
  • Crane
    1. 19th May 1998 (also seen at Kilcoole)
    2. 30th May 2009
    3. 13th October 2009 & 22nd February 2010
    4. 23rd November 2013 - March 2014 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • American Golden Plover
    1. 6th - 24th June 1996 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • White-rumped Sandpiper
    1. 10th - 17th September 1994 (also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Alpine Swift
    1. 2 birds, 8th April 2006 (at least 1 also seen at Kilcoole)
  • Wryneck
    1. 10th September 2006 (found dead)
  • Barred Warbler
    1. 16th - 22nd November 1993 (trapped)
  • Richard's Pipit
    1. 20th November 1994
  • Tawny Pipit
    1. 9th June 2010
  • Ortolan Bunting
    1. 2 birds, 18th April 1951 (1st Irish record)
  • Red-headed Bunting
    1. 18th May 1966

Some Notable Records for Blackditch

  • Great White Egret
    1. 13th April 2013
  • Spoonbill
    1. 8th August 2005
  • Montagu's Harrier
    1. 14th May 2007
  • Little Ringed Plover
    1. 9th - 10th April 2000
  • Spotted Sandpiper
    1. 8th - 12th May 2007
  • Red-rumped Swallow
    1. 8th - 9th July 2001
  • Water Pipit
    1. 4th February - 1st March 2006
    2. 17th December 2007
    3. 15th April 2008

The Map

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Other North Wicklow Site