Ballymacran, on the east shore of Lough Foyle, is a haven for wintering waterfowl and waders, and is a bird watchers’ paradise.
With its intertidal mudflats and fertile hinterland, Lough Foyle is an internationally renowned Ramsar site, attracting huge flocks of migratory birds. Depending on the tides, whooper swans, pale-bellied brent geese, widgeon and the bar-tailed godwit, as well as curlews and redshanks, may be seen in abundance in winter.
Ballymacran’s rich agricultural land is also a great attraction. The huge flocks of birds, including whooper and Bewick’s swans, that feed in its fields are a wonderful spectacle to behold, for experienced and casual birdwatchers alike.
Myroe Levels, also near Ballykelly, comprises reclaimed farmland and provides a variety of habitats for wintering populations of great crested grebe, widgeon, shelduck and teal. Common seals and otters may also be observed here.
Oystercatchers, herons, redshank, and lapwing may be seen in the freshwater ponds and reed beds that lie on the ‘inland’ side of Ballykelly Bank.
Ballymacran is 8 kilometres from Ballykelly via the A2 and Broighter Road. Car parks are available at Ballykelly, Ballymacran and Myroe Levels, and information panels and bird hides add to visitors’ enjoyment.