Nature Reserves

Conserving vital habitats

Small Wood, Co. Galway

The Small Wood Reserve is an area of deciduous woodland with a variety of mature trees, including oak that leads down to a small area of saltmarsh on the edge of Rusheen Bay. Within the woodland, typical woodland bird species are present throughout the year, such as Chaffinch, and the variety is boosted by the arrival of summer songsters such as Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. The scarce Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly is often seen in the woodland. Along the foreshore, looking out into the bay offers close views of Common Terns and Sandwich Terns during the summer. Kingfishers are often seen in winter along with waders, notably Greenshank.

Accessibility & Facilities

Limited parking is available along the road. Further along the road, there are two stone walls to look out from over Rusheen Bay. Please respect the wildlife and other visitors and refrain from bringing dogs onto the reserve, other than Guide dogs.

Opening times: The Small Wood Reserve is open all year round.

Entrance charges: Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Facilities: An information board is provided at the stone wall overlooking Rusheen Bay.


Key Species


Willow Warbler

A summer visitor, these small birds are almost identical to their cousins the Chiffchaff but are easily distinguished by their lilting song echoing from the woodland.


Sandwich Tern

Out in the bay, listen for a loud grating ‘eric’ call coming from a white tern, with a black cap on its head and then careful looking will reveal a long black bill with a yellow tip.



Carefully scan along the foreshore on a winter’s day looking for the tell-tale azure blue and orange of a perched Kingfisher waiting patiently for a fish to appear or follow the azure-blue flash as they fly past.

Check out the latest Reserve News

CorncrakeNewsReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
August 18, 2023

Positive news for Ireland’s Corncrake population but numbers remain critically low

BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the news that Ireland’s Corncrake population is on the rise but says that cautious optimism is required as numbers still remain critically low. Data released by the…
Great Yellow Bumblebee at BirdWatch Ireland's Termoncarragh Meadows Nature Reserve ReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
May 21, 2021

Conserving the Great Yellow Bumblebee in Co. Mayo

BirdWatch Ireland is not just for the birds. A recent paper published in the Journal of Insect Conservation highlights that our reserves on the Mullet Peninsula hold the highest numbers…

Further Information

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