BirdWatch Ireland Reserves

Termoncarragh Lake - County Mayo

Termoncarragh Lake, lake viewTermoncarragh Lake, Barnacle GooseTermoncarragh Lake, aerial view


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.

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. 

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. 

Where is it?

Location: 7 km west of Belmullet, on the Mullet Peninsula in north-west Mayo. To reach the graveyard turn left after passing through Corclogh village.

Grid Ref: F654 335 (car park overlooking the lake)

Google maps

Further info

BirdWatch Mayo 

Birdwatching on the Mullet Peninsula

What’s the weather like?


Where to Watch Birds in North West Mayo

EU LIFE Project Summary 2002-2005