Upper Lough Erne SPA

Protected area type: Special Protection Areas
Feature type: 
  • Species
  • Fermanagh
Council: Fermanagh and Omagh

Upper Lough Erne Lough is situated in County Fermanagh in the west of Northern Ireland and is a very large and complex freshwater system. A series of flooded drumlins in the course of the River Erne give rise to a complex of islands, bays and many lakes bordered by damp pastures, fens, reedswamp, alder/willow carr and oak woodland.

The Special Protection Area site boundary is entirely coincident with the composite boundary of the following ASSIs: Corraslough Point, Dernish Island, Finn Floods, Inishroosk, Killymackan Lough, Upper Lough Erne - Belleisle, Upper Lough Erne - Crom, Upper Lough Erne - Galloon and Upper Lough Erne - Trannish.

Whooper Swan - Photo by Laurie Campbell

The site qualifies under Article 4.1 of EC Directive 79/409 on the Conservation of Wild Birds by regularly supporting internationally important numbers of wintering whooper swans. Upper Lough Erne provides a core protected area for whooper swans in the region of Northern Ireland, as there is interchange between the swans using protected areas and those ranging more widely on surrounding farmland.

Upper Lough Erne contributes to the maintenance of the geographic range of the Annex 1 Greenland white-fronted goose population of Northern Ireland through supporting regionally important numbers. It also supports an important assemblage of breeding birds including common tern and in the past supported breeding corncrake. Both are Annex 1 species.

Other migratory birds breeding on the site include great crested grebe and important concentrations of three species of waders which are declining elsewhere, curlew, snipe and redshank.

Nationally important wintering wildfowl species, many of which are migratory, include great crested grebe, cormorant, mute swan, tufted duck, wigeon, teal, goldeneye, coot, mallard, snipe, curlew, and redshank. 

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