In central Ireland, North of Lough Derg the River Shannon has a very shallow gradient and in parts regularly floods its banks. The resulting wet grassland area, known as the Shannon Callows, is renowned for its wild birds and wildlife generally. It has one of the largest concentrations of breeding waders in these islands with Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, Sandpiper and Godwit living there. Many species of migrant wildbirds are also frequent visitors while otters, fox and ferret mink are common residents.
The Shannon Callows are areas of flat land along the shores of the River Shannon. These areas lie between Athlone, where the river flows out of Lough Ree, and Portumna, where it enters Lough Derg, in central Ireland.