The River Little Brosna Callows is located 5 km south-west of Banagher, Co. Offaly and stretches from the canal at the junction with the River Shannon, some 9 km along the River Little Brosna to a point 1 km above the new bridge on the R438 road. The main habitat is the extensive area of low-lying callows on the floodplains of the River Little Brosna and River Shannon. These wet meadows are subject to prolonged flooding in winter and early spring
Important Bird Species: Greenland White-fronted Goose, Black-tailed Godwit, Garganey, Wigeon, Shovler, Pintail
Access: The Little Brosna Callows are best viewed from minor public roads running parallel to the River Little Brosna on its northern side between New Bridge (next to the Angler’s Rest pub) and Victoria Lock. If scanning fields from this road ensure that cars are well off the road, and do not block any gates. Ashton’s Callow hide (which is maintained by the Tipperary Branch of BirdWatch Ireland) is accessed from the R348 Borrisokane Cloghan Road. Park is adjacent to the Angler’s Rest and walk south to the first road on the right. Take this road past two houses and, where the track turns sharp right, go straight ahead through the gate and follow the path as it meanders through the woodland, out onto the open bog and back into woodland around the hide. This track can be flooded in winter, so wellies are recommended.
Birds: Winter is the best time of year to view this site. Large flocks (1,000+) of Black-tailed Godwit and over 100 Whooper Swans and Greenland White-fronted Geese are regularly seen, as are thousands of Wigeon, Teal, Lapwing and Golden Plover and significant flocks of Pintal and Shoveler. Scarcer birds can also be found at this time: Little Egret is increasingly regular and rarities such as Green-winged Teal have been recorded. If the water levels are right, the callows can be excellent in spring for passage waders such as Whimbrel. Late-staying Black-tailed Godwit can be seen in breeding plumage in April, when Spotted Redshank and Ruff may also be seen. Garganey have become almost annual, and Marsh Harriers are regularly recorded. Rarities in recent years have included Common Crane and Long-Billed Dowitcher. The New Bridge over the River Little Brosna at the Angler’s Rest is a good location for Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, and Dipper has bred here in recent years.