Nature Reserves

Conserving vital habitats

Termoncarragh Lake, Co. Mayo

The Termoncarragh Lake Reserve is part of a large, shallow freshwater coastal lagoon set within the rare coastal machair ecosystem (sandy grasslands). The area is rich in wild flowers, insects and birds. Our reserve is part of the lake bed whilst the surrounding lands are privately owned. The whole area forms an extensive Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation. It is an important ecosystem which is renowned for its wintering waterfowl, including Whooper Swans and Barnacle Geese. The geese commute between the lake and the Inishkea Islands in winter. Breeding birds include Lapwing, Snipe, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting, as well as the secretive Corncrake and Water Rails.

Accessibility & Facilities

The surrounding lands are privately owned so view from the surrounding roads only; the best viewing point is from the graveyard to the west of the lake.

Opening times: The reserve is open all year-round however please view the reserve from the surrounding roads only.

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

Facilities: There are no facilities. Parking is available at the graveyard to the west of the lake. This is a remote location and at times there maybe grazing animals present, so please take care and keep dogs on a leash and under close control.


Key Species


Barnacle Goose

Large numbers arrive from Greenland in mid October, often staying out on the Inishkea Islands first before commuting daily to the lake and surrounding grasslands from mid December to mid April. They favour the short grasslands where they graze in densely-packed groups.


Whooper Swan

Similar to the resident Mutes but look carefully at the bills to see the characteristic yellow wedge; they also have a distinctive ‘whooping’ call. They arrive here in October and stay until early April when they make their way back to their Icelandic breeding grounds.


Sedge Warbler

Within the reeds along the lake edge a small warbler returns from Africa each spring to breed, their scratchy song is the give-away and scanning the tops of the reeds the songsters can be seen ‘pirouetting’ up into the air, singing its scratchy song as it goes.

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

Where To Watch – North West Mayo

Become a member

Please login to 'My Account' as this content is restricted to Members or Key Members only. Not a Member? Join us to access our extensive publications archive in addition to a host of other benefits and help us to protect birds and biodiversity.
Become a member

We sell amazing stuff!

Visit our shop and find the essential items for every birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast. Whether you are a serious twitcher or someone who is looking for a nice gift, we’ve got it sorted.

Visit Our Shop