The Sheskinmore Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1980 to protect a rare and sensitive environment including sand dunes, tidal flats, salt water bog, machaire and reed beds. It now extends from Kiltoorish Lough to Carn. It is the seasonal habitat of a quite remarkable range of flowering plants, lichens, fungi, ferns and seaweed, as well as insects, shellfish, fish, birds and mammals.
There are at least 16 types of orchid in the reserve, including some rare species.
Sheskinmore Lough contains rare plants such as the Slender Naiad, Water lobelia and Pipewort. In the bogs are found Gentian, Potentilla, Lousewort, Juniper, Bog cotton and Bog myrtle. Along the seashore lichen paints the rocks with a pale palette, bearing witness to the purity of the air in Kilclooney and tenacious Thrift adds to the colourful scene in springtime.
Wildfowl include autumn visitors Greenland, White-fronted, Barnacle and Brent geese, as well as swans and ducks at every season. Curlew, Whimbrel, Heron, Cuckoo, Lapwing, Dunlin, Sanderling and Oystercatcher combine with commoner small birds as well as Red pheasant and Grey-backed crow and rarer nesters like the Buzzard, Merlin, and Reed warbler to make this place a paradise for bird-watchers . Hides are provided near Sheskinmore Lough.
Mammals include rabbits, hares, fox, badger, seal, otter and (unfortunately escaped) mink. Nearby water life includes cockles, mussels, clams and razor-shells, trout and salmon. Watch out too in summer for the colourful darts of butterflys and moths.
Bonny Glen is a small forest park with an attractive woodland walk past lakes and a small cascade. There is a shelter and picnic tables. The atmosphere here is quite different from elsewhere in the area and provides a pleasing contrast from beach and moorland on a windy day.
The Dunmorecliff walk is only for visitors accustomed to, and prepared for the hazards of walking off the beaten track. Starting at Portnoo Pier and heading west, the nature-lover will find much to delight them along the way.
Recent Dolphins, Whales and Porpoise sightings (South West Donegal)
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