Port Ban, Co. Cork

Hen Harrier by Mike Brown

Port Bán is a 13 acre site made up of a patchwork of different habitats running along the banks of the river Toon.  An area of cutover bog and heath gives way to a band of wet-woodland that runs parallel to the river Toon.  Between the woodland and the river lies a narrow secluded corridor of wet grassland grazed by the local deer population.  The reserve has a variety of habitats for the ‘Atlantic’ flora of the Irish west coast, particularly the Lusitanian plants, Irish Spurge, St Patrick’s cabbage and large-flowered Butterwort.  The animal life recorded includes badger, fox, hedgehog, stoat and shrew.  A diverse birdlife is present: birds of prey such as sparowhawk and hen harrier hunt on this reserve while kingfisher, dipper and heron use the river.

The river itself is lined with a thin border of riparian woodland and is the home of the highly endangered freshwater pearl mussel.  The IWT would like to carry out research on the mussel population present and investigate the effect of local water quality on the population.

Photo: Hen Harrier by Mike Brown