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Shannon floods threaten endangered corncrake

Shannon flood waters overwhelm a rural houseI have been discussing the flooding of the Shannon in previous posts. First I took a photo showing the disappearance of the weir under the rising river, then The Shannon actually burst its banks and proceeded to flood the town.

Returning to Athlone this week I noticed the waters had abated hardly at all. The flood plains themselves cover 6,000 hectares in five Irish counties: Roscommon, Westmeath, off, Galway and Tipperary. This is really bad news for wildlife in these flood plains.

Just one victim of the floods is the corncrake, an endangered species of bird, has all but disappeared from the area.

The Irish corncrakeNumber of male calling corncrakes in the Shannon Callows: Source: Birdwatch Ireland
2000 58
2001 54
2002 20
2003 22
2004 22
2005 23
2006 17

Birdwatch Ireland has reported that there were NO nesting corncrakes in summer 2006.

The Middle Shannon Callows qualifies as a site of International Importance for wintering waterfowl. Since the beginning of this century, it is estimated that there has been up to an 80% reduction in the wild bird population mainly due to summer flooding.

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