Wild Walks: Cork Lough
Cork Lough is located in the south-west of Cork City. The Lough is a shallow, spring-fed lake and has been a designated wildlife sanctuary due to the presence of important waterfowl. The lough itself is relatively shallow with a maximum water depth of 1.6 metres and further muddy sediment of less than 1 metre.
There is a large island located in the centre of the lake. Dominated by a dense, low growing willow woodland, the island acts as a refuge, roosting and breeding area for residential and migratory birds. Commonly recorded birds in the area include many different species of gulls, coot, mute swan, mallard, moorhen and greylag goose. During the winter, you may sport Little Egrets and Shoveler, the latter which can reach numbers of national importance. Below the water line, carp populations thrive and leave little to no aquatic plants uneaten. Ash, Birch, Hawthorn, Sycamore and Black Poplar line the walkway, providing an ideal habitat for bats and songbirds. Although the lough may seem small, it is overflowing with biodiversity.
The lough can be accessed from Lough Road and Hartland’s Avenue.
There is an “inner” trail close to the edge of the lough and an “outer” path that follows the main footpaths. The loop is roughly 1 km in length.
Scientific name: Fulica atra
Irish name: Cearc cheannann
Common resident freshwater bird that is very similar in appearance to a Moorhen but with a distinct white forehead and bill. Nests in large, shallow water bodies such as lakes, ponds, coastal estuaries, and river systems.
Scientific name: Anas clypeata
Irish name: Spadalach
Medium sized duck named for its long, broad bill. Resident and winter migrant most seen between October and March. Prefers shallow freshwater systems that are rich in zooplankton, including coastal estuaries, lakes and turloughs.
Scientific name: Populus nigra
Irish name: Poibleóg dhubh
Native Irish tree but sparsely distributed across the country. Found mostly in moist sites such as woodlands near a river floodplain. Grows up to 35 metres tall and can live over 200 years old.
Scientific name: Nyctalus leisleri
Irish name: Ialtóg Leisler
Ireland’s biggest bat. Often found roosting in buildings. Emerges early in the evening and can be seen flying over open spaces such as fields as it hunts for beetles. Rare in Britain and Europe but relatively common in Ireland, making the Irish population of great international importance.
Brown long-eared bat
Scientific name: Plecotus auritus
Irish name: ialtóg fhad-chluasach
Very distinctive large ears. Probably quite common but rarely seen as they prefer to forage amongst the foliage in woodlands. Regularly found roosting in buildings.
Scientific name: Myotis daubentonii
Irish name: Ialtóg uisce (‘water bat’)
Strongly associated with water as it can often be seen flying very low over the surface of lakes and rivers, as seen at The Lough. This bat is even capable of swimming if it accidentally lands in the water. Usually roosts under bridges, canal tunnels and damp caves.