A Walk to the Shannon Callows
We went for a walk to the Shannon callows in October 1999. Cormac brought the trundle wheel and he measured the distance to the river. It was 500 meters to the gate into the Garbh Inch (the callows or river meadows). It was 500 more meters to the riverbank.
When we got there we saw a type of “scum” on the fields. The river had been in flood and when it went down it left this “scum”. We didn’t know what it was. We took a photograph of the scum. We sent e-mail to Stephen Heary, author of “Shannon Floodlands”. We sent him the photograph as an email attachment.
He replied by saying it was algae and a natural fertilizer for the grass.
Because artificial fertilizer is not used, lots of wild flowers grow in the callows.
Insects feed on the nector of the flowers.
Birds are attracted because of the insects and that’s why birds like corncrakes nest there in the summer.
Yesterday April 6th 2000 we went on a field trip back to the Garbhinch, near the Shannon, to go bird watching with a man called Jimmy. He said that the wind had changed to a southerly direction and as it was warm we would see a lot of birds feeding.
Before we started our walk we heard a blackbird singing loudly in the hedge. Jimmy said that the female blackbird was on her eggs and the male blackbird was in the bush protecting her.
When we got to the Garbhinch we did see a lot of birds.
We saw a heron and it looked lovely with its long wings.
A bit further on we saw a bird of prey, the kestrel which is the smallest hawk. He had a small bird in his mouth and it was screeching.
We could not see with our own eyes so Jimmy let us use his binoculars.
We saw birds such as the golden plover, curlew, tufted duck, and the cormorant
We were told that the tufted duck and the lapwing have both got curls on their heads.
We saw a moorhen it had red on its face.
We wouldn’t have seen them if Jimmy didn’t know a lot about birds and if he didn’t have his binoculars.