BirdWatch Ireland

West Cork Branch

Protecting birds and biodiversity in West Cork



The Branch



Birding Sites

Branch Diary






Mizen Peninsula


Overview and habitat

The birding potential of the Mizen Peninsular is too big to detail here, so I recommend that serious birders consult OS Map 88, Eric Dempsey’s book, Finding Birds in Ireland, and call in to Crookhaven Bird Observatory in October for on the spot news, and a map and guide to the area (Tel. 0872204841).

This is an area for competent birdwatchers who want to find a rarity. Beginners will find it hard and unrewarding without some assistance.

The area is good  during migration times: March, April, September and October. During an Easterly blow or a big anticyclone over Russia and Scandinavia, eastern vagrants will find landfall here. Look in the lee of hills, and sheltered valleys.

During and after Atlantic Storms search the lake for American Waders, and any garden or boreen which holds shelter for passerines. Pay particular attention to sycamores and willows. Always gain permission to enter any lived in garden or farm.

Target species

Seawatching is good in strong Southerly winds. Best places are Mizen Vision, Brow Head, and Galley Cove.

Cetaceans feature strongly in the seas around Mizen from September to December. Porpoise, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins and Minke and Fin Whales are regular.

Great and Arctic Skuas are common in Southerly gales in Autumn. Soft plumaged petrel and Albatross sps. have been seen in the last two years.

Migrants and American Waders can be found in various spots around the peninsula.

Best time of year

March, April, September and October.

Getting there

For Crookhaven, from Goleen take the R591 follow the road to the left and it takes you out onto the headland, which includes Crookhaven and Brow Head.

For Mizen Vision and the Main Mizen Road, take the right turning at the end of Goleen, signposted Barley Cove/Coastroad and Lissagriffin Lake becomes visible on the left. Continue on this road past the lake, the lake is bisected by a causeway - the left turning after the Causeway and the lake is the Main Mizen Road, this is signposted.



Skuas in Autumn, cetaceans from September to December. Migrants and American Waders to be found in Autumn and Spring.


Really very little outside of Autumn migrants, but Auk species may be visible from Mizen Vision. Chough, Fulmar, Peregrine and Kittiwake may also be seen.