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Harper's Island


Education Centre

Harper's Island Wetland Educatin Centre is owned by Cork County Council and is managed in partnership with BirdWatch Ireland andthe Glounthaune Community Association.

Work is currently being carried out on the reserve and it is hoped to have the viewing area open to the public in the Autumn of 2017. Watch this space or visit our branch Facebook page for news and developemnts at Harper's Island.

We have put together a downloadable Harper's Island Wetland Education Centre Bird Identification Guide pdf. It covers the main birds you are likely to see on a visit to the reserve. It is for personal use only and it or no part of it is to be copied or used elsewhere without permission. Download pdf here:

Harper's Island Wetland Education Centre Bird Identification Guide

Cork Harbour provides a rich environment for marine invertebrates; a vital food source for the international important numbers of wintering waterbirds with in excess of 20,000 individuals, making it one of the top ten winter refuges for waterbirds in Ireland.
Harper’s Island is a small (30 ha) low-lying island in the Glounthaune Estuary/Slatty Water complex, in the northern section of Cork Harbour. The low-lying northern section of the island is influenced by the surrounding tidal estuary through an old sluice point and hence the immediate vegetation is of brackish grasslands developing into successional saltmarsh.
Although Harper’s Island is only a small component, in terms of land-mass, within the Glounthaune Estuary/Slatty Water complex, the island is an extremely important safe feeding and roosting refuge for many species of wintering waterbirds. Nearly half of the Cork Harbour Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit population roost on the island on spring high tides. At times, during the spring months, peak Black-tailed Godwit counts can exceed 2,000 birds representing over 4% of the global population. The Glounthaune Estuary/Slatty Water complex also supports populations of national importance of Shelduck, Teal, Little Grebe, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank and Black-headed Gull with Harper’s Island supporting significant components of these populations.