The Copeland Islands

The Copeland Islands is a group of three islands in the north Irish Sea, north of Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland consisting of Lighthouse, Mew and Copeland Island. The islands are important sites for breeding seabirds and waders, in addition to their coastal plant communities and geological features.

The islands are internationally important sites for breeding populations of Manx Shearwater and Arctic Tern and nationally important sites for breeding Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull and Eider Duck. The Manx Shearwater colony on Copeland Islands holds more than 1.7% of the world population. The colony is in excess of four thousand pairs.
The rabbit populations on the islands play an important role in the breeding success of the Manx Shearwater as the latter mainly nest in the rabbit burrows that honeycomb the islands. Grazing by rabbits maintains a short sward, which is desirable for the fledglings.
Grey Seal and Common Seal can be found off the Copeland Islands in significant numbers. They utilise the off-shore islands and reefs as haul-outs and as pupping and mating sites. 
There is public passenger boat service to the islands during the summer months from Donaghadee harbour, allowing a visit of a few hours.

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