For directions to a particular location, visit the Locations page!

Linnet at Carne Beach, Wexford

Linnet

Buzzard at Lough Neagh

Buzzard

Unless you live locally, it is often difficult to know the best birding locations in Ireland for bird photography. Many bird watchers are happy to set up quite a distance away as they will have a scope. Photographers need to get closer to the action. Will there be somewhere to park when I get there? Is there access to a lake shore or beach or nature reserve?

This site highlights locations where you can view birds of Ireland and where there are good opportunities to take photographs. In addition to information about directions and parking, there will be links to photo galleries featuring birds that I have photographed in that particular site.

he list of destinations, will grow over time, and hopefully so will the quality of the images, and the variety of birds featured. A smaller number of international destinations will also feature.

Birding Locations Dublin


Ardgillan Castle & Demesne

Ardgillan Castle & Demesne is located near Balbriggan in North County Dublin. It is a large parkland area with open walks along grasslands and wooded areas. It overlooks the Irish Sea between Balbriggan and Skerries. There is a foot bridge across the railway line and the road that is known as the Ladies Stairs. From here there are steps down to a stony beach at low tide. Sat Nav Co-ordinates are 53.581024, -6.160524 for the car park in Ardgillan Demesne. Sat Nav co-ordinates for the car park at the ladies steps (3 minutes walk) are 53.588479, -6.153071 .    VIEW GALLERY

Balheary Park, Swords, County Dublin

Balheary Park is located on the Northern edge of Swords in North County Dublin. At first glance it looks like there is not a lot there except football pitches. However once you enter the park you will find not just one river walk, but two. The Ward River dissects the park in two and the walk along the river is good for finches, wren, mallard, little egrets, grey wagtails and the occasional (and elusive) Kingfisher. The Broadmeadows River forms the Northern boundary to the park and attracts the same birds along with chiffchaff and willow warblers in Spring and Grey Heron all year. Parking can usually be found on the R125 which runs along the south side of the park. The Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.465010, -6.216129  VIEW GALLERY

Bohernabreena Reservoir

This is actually two reservoirs in the Glenasmole Valley in the Dublin Mountains. The River Dodder flows through the valley and both reservoirs are fed by the river - the upper reservoir and the lower reservoir. From the public car park there is a loop walk  around the reservoirs which includes part of the Dublin Mountains Way. There are beautiful views of the Wicklow mountains as well as Dublin city. The walk is level for most of the way, although there is a hill leading from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir, but the gradient is not steep. The car park is at the entrance to the park which is located just three and a half kilometres from Tallaght on the R 114. It is a very easy walk that can be done easily in 90 minutes. Please note that the car park is not very large and can  be full at peak times, especially in summer. Sat Nav co-ordinates for the car park are 53.258941, -6.369069  VIEW GALLERY

Broadmeadows Estuary Dublin

Broadmeadows Estuary in Swords in North County Dublin is an ideal location for bird watching and bird photography. Search for Dennehy Rosswood Kennels in Google maps. This is at the start of the road that runs the length of the estuary. Drive a few hundred metre and you will come to several lay-by's for parking. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.4611260, -6.1921400. VIEW GALLERY

Bull Island Dublin

Bull Island is one of the most popular birding locations in Ireland with a 5 kilometre long beach and tidal estuary, It is one of the best nature reserves in Dublin for birds. At low tide, there are substantial areas of mudflats exposed. Search for "the wooden bridge Dublin in Google Maps. This will bring you to the bridge that crosses the estuary to the beach. You can park on the beach, or along the road leading to the beach. You can also search for Causeway Road, this is another road to the beach. Sat-Nav co-ordinates are 53°22'26.3"N 6°09'51.6"W VIEW GALLERY

Bull Island North

When you access the beach from the causeway you can turn left, heading North, and follow the beach until you reach the end. It is a 3.5 Km walk in each direction, so you will need at least 3 hours. When you reach the end, you are at the tip of Bull Island and you have direct access to the tidal channel which runs along the back of the beach. Here you will see waders, gulls, sea birds and very often grey seals and common seals. You can walk down the beach and come back along the grass track on the other side. You can park your car near the end of the causeway. Sat Nav co-ordinates are: 53.369886, -6.148891 . VIEW GALLERY

Dalkey Island

Dalkey Island lies just off the coast of South County Dublin and it is a popular destination bird photography. Maiden Rock is a small rocky outcrop top the North of the island and is home to breeding Roseate Terns. There is a Martello Tower on the island as well as the ruins of a small church. Seals are often present on the rocky shoreline and there are local rabbits and a herd of goats! Gulls and terns nest on the island along with Oyster Catchers. There is a small boat operated by "Ken the Ferryman" from Colliemore Harbour and the boat journey is approx 5 minutes and in 2020 the fare is €10 return. On street parking can be found close by but it can be very busy at weekends, particularly in summer. Check out the ferry times at kentheferryman.com. Sat Nav co-ordinates for the harbour are 53.274894, -6.093837 . Continue past the harbour and search for on street parking, Check out 2 small parks on both sides of the road. VIEW GALLERY

Dodder River Dublin

The Dodder rises in the Wicklow Mountains and meanders through south Dublin until it joins the River Liffey at Grand Canal Dock. This walk starts at Terenure, passes through Milltown and finishes at Clonskeagh. It is roughly 7 Kilometres round trip. The walk hugs the river bank and there is ready access to see any birds and wildlife. On my first visit on a busy Saturday morning in June, there were many expected birds absent, but enough to bring me back again soon! I started the walk at the following co-ordinates in Google maps: 53.304807, -6.280722 .  I found parking on Westbourne Road (about 3 minutes walk away). The co-ordinates are: 53.305764, -6.283030 . VIEW GALLERY

Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin

Dun Laoghaire Harbour is commercial harbour and leisure marina in South Dublin. There are 2 long piers which offer long walks out into the bay where you can see a variety of gulls, terns (in Summer) and waders. It is also a good place to see divers in Winter including Red Throated Divers, Black Throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes. Scottsman's Bay just a couple of hundred metres from the start of the East Pier is a good place to see Mediterranean Gulls in Summer. The area around the start of the East Pier attracts Black Redstarts in Summer. Search for Scottsman's Bay in Google. There is a car park along the seafront. Bring plenty of coins as it is "Pay & Display". The Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.290009, -6.126234  VIEW GALLERY

Glasnevin Cemetary, Dublin

This is probably an unusual place to go bird watching but it is located right next door to the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland in Glasnevin, Dublin. This creates a very large habitat for wildlife within the city. Both the gardens and the cemetery are known for the large population of grey squirrels in the area. There is an access gate between the park and the cemetery, but remember the cemetery closes at 6.00 PM every day! There is a public car park in the gardens, located here: 53.371565, -6.269545 . Alternatively  you can enter the cemetery through a pedestrian gate in Prospect Square which is home to the Gravediggers Pub! ; 53.369546, -6.272215. VIEW GALLERY

Great South Wall Dublin

Running along the south bank of the River Liffey where it enters the Irish Sea near Dublin City Centre, the Great South Wall is a popular walk in Dublin. it is approximately 4 Kilometres long and is a good place to view terns in Summer time as well as gulls and other sea birds. Search Google for "Great South Wall Parking". Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.3409182, -6.1762445 . VIEW GALLERY

Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club is an old ruin of a shooting lodge that dates back to the 16th century. It sits on top of Mount Pelier Hill in South Dublin, near Tallaght and Rathfarnham. There is a public car park at the base of the hill and well maintained trails that meander through Massy's Wood. The trails work their way through coniferous forest and there are superb views over the city of Dublin and also the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. There are two looped walks, 60 minutes and 90 minutes, one a little more gentle than the other. Sat Nav co-ordinates are: 53.252131, -6.320853  VIEW GALLERY

Howth Harbour Dublin

A popular village for Dubliners and also a good place to view sea birds. Search for "East Pier Howth" in Google Maps. Thus will take you to the car park at the end of the village. Along the way, there are several other opportunities to park. Sat-Nav co-ordinates are 53.388326, -6.065095. Walk along the East Pier on the high wall and you can see the harbour and out to sea. VIEW GALLERY

Howth Head Dublin

Just a short drive from Howth Harbour is Howth Head. This is a popular cliff walk along the headland with superb views out over Dublin Bay. There is a wide variety of Gulls in the area as well as Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Cormorants. The headland is a breeding area for Stonechats, Linnets, Meadow Pippits and a wide range of other small birds. Kestrels are regularly seen. When you drive from Howth Head you come to a large carpark at the end of the road which is adjacent to the start of the Walk. It can be steep and rocky in places, so wear good walking shoes. Search Google Maps for Howth Cliff Walk Carpark. Sat-Nav co-ordinates are 53.385617, -6.051511 VIEW GALLERY

Loughshinny, County Dublin

Loughshinny is a small fishing harbour located between Rush and Skerries in North Dublin. It is a popular spot to go bird watching as there is access to to the beach and cliffs (at low tide) to spot Fulmar. There is also a cliff walk where you can see songbirds, chats and finches as well as the occasional Buzzard and Kestrel. From the car park at the beach walk out along the beach at low tide to see Fulmars on the cliff face. At the end of the beach there are steps that take you to the top of the headland. Follow the path which takes you through hedgerows and grasslands, and also gives you great views of the shoreline. Search Google Maps for Loughshinny Beach. There is a car park right at the beach. Sat-Nav co-ordinates 53.547241, -6.081063  VIEW GALLERY

Malahide, County Dublin

The town of Malahide in North Dublin has a tidal Estuary that is a continuation of Broadmeadows Estuary. At low tide, you can access the beach. There is a car park located a short distance from the town and this gives you access to the beach. This area has grasslands that support Linnet, Stonechats, Pipits, Goldfinch and others. Walk to your left towards the town and you will see waders, geese, ducks, divers and more, depending on the season. The sat nav co-ordinates for the car park are 53.450208, -6.141562  VIEW GALLERY

National Botanical Gardens Dublin

Located close to Dublin city centre, this is a haven for wildlife with cultivated flower beds, natural grasslands, wooded areas and a walk along the Tolka River. The park is open every day from 9 to 4.30 in Winter and 9 to 5 in Summer. It usually stays open for an extra hour on Saturday and Sunday. There is a car park onsite but it can get full early at peak times. The Sat-Nav co-ordinates for the car park are 53.371547, -6.269553  VIEW GALLERY

Newbridge House & Farm, Donabate, County Dublin

Newbridge House and Farm, also known as Newbridge Demesne, is located near Donabate in North County Dublin. In addition to a beautifully preserved Georgian House and a traditional working farm, there are 370 acres of gently undulating pastureland, woodland walks and wild flower meadows which creates an ideal habitat for birds. The park is managed by Fingal County Council and there is a large public car park: Sat-Nav co-ordinates are 53.486204, -6.170464 VIEW GALLERY

North Malahide Estuary

The northern part of Malahide Estuary in Dublin is accessed quite some distance from Malahide. You need to travel towards Donabate and turn off for the Island Golf Club on the way. When you pass the entrance to the Island Golf Club, there is a parking area overlooking the estuary. This is a tidal estuary and large areas of the estuary are exposed at low tide. There are several channels of water visible at low tide and they contain a large variety of seabirds. You can walk along the beach at low tide as far as Malahide. It is about a 30 minute walk. The golf club borders the beach and you can see a variety of finches, chats and pipits. Sat Nav co-ordinates for the car park are 53.466313, -6.135043 or you can enter The Island Golf Club into Google maps and drive past the entrance to the parking area. VIEW GALLERY

Phoenix Park Dublin

The Phoenix Park in Dublin is the largest enclose park in Europe and home to a herd of 600 Fallow Deer as well as home to Dublin Zoo. There are extensive areas of parkland and woodlands and there is a large pond on Ordinance Survey Road, and another pond in the people's garden. You can park throughout the park and there is a visitor centre with a café, toilets, car parking and woodland walks. The pond on the ordinance survey road is located here: 53.365306, -6.343364 . The visitor centre car park is located here: 53.364447, -6.330937 . For more information visit the official website: http://phoenixpark.ie/  VIEW GALLERY

Phoenix Park Deer

Fallow deer have been present for over 350 years in Dublin's Phoenix Park. This is the largest enclosed park within any capital city in Europe. Generations of Dubliners have "gone up to the park" to see the deer, particularly in October during the Rut (breeding season) and of course in late spring when the young fawns are born. These are wild animals and care must be taken not to get too close!  Around the first three weeks of October every year, you can see "the Rut" . This is the peak of the mating season when males will often lock horns in battle. You need to be carful not to get too close to during this time, or indeed at any time! There are a couple of parking areas in the Furry Glen, near where they often gather. The Sat-Nav co-ordinates for parking are 53.355418, -6.348792. You can also park along the Furze Road which gives access to where they often gather during the day. Sat Nav co-ordinates are: 53.359693, -6.349209 VIEW GALLERY

Royal Canal Dublin

This stretch of the canal runs from the 12th Lock at Castleknock to the 10th lock at Ashtown near the Phoenix Park. It passes under the M50 motorway interchange for Blanchardstown and Castleknock. It is an easy walk along the canal. There is parking available on the street near the 12th lock. From here you can walk in either direction toward Collmine or towards Ashtown. Parking can be found here: 53.382748, -6.366006  VIEW GALLERY

Rush Harbour

Rush is a small coastal town in North County Dublin and has a small harbour with access to the beach. It looks out over the Irish sea and has excellent views of Rockabill Island and the headland and Martello Tower at Loughshinny. As it is tidal, it has a large range of gulls, terns, waders, divers as well as a good variety of birds in the hedges and fields along the beach. There is a small car park at the harbour and easy access to the beach.... Sat-Nav co-ordinates: 53.522477, -6.082188  VIEW GALLERY

Saint Catherine’s Park, Lucan, Dublin

St. Catherine’s Park is a mixed woodland and grassland park of over 200 acres along the banks of the River Liffey. The Liffey divides the park which straddles Dublin and Kildare. There is a pedestrian bridge over the river so it is possible to explore both banks of the Liffey. There is a wide variety of bird life in the park including Kingfishers, Jay and Tree Creepers. There is a car park in the park but this is near the football pitches which leaves you a 10 minute walk to the river. There is also a smaller car park along the main road between Lucan and Leixlip with direct access to the river walk. Sat Nav co-ordinates for Lucan Road Car Park: 53.355631, -6.460821. VIEW GALLERY

Sandymount Strand, Dublin

Sandymount Strand stretches from Sean O'Casey Park near the village of Sandymount, to the Merrion Road at Merrion Gates on the south side of Dublin. It is part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve. At high tide the sea comes right up to the road. Low tide exposes a flat sandy beach that extends for almost 2 kilometers to the sea. The area attracts a large variety of gulls, waders and in summer, terns. There are 3  public car parks at the following co-ordinates: 53.328438, -6.208788 and 53.324327, -6.206746 and 53.321747, -6.206218. At the south end of the beach you can get back onto the road and walk as far as the Merrion Gates railway crossing. Here, you can access the beach at Merrion Strand where there are mudflats and some grassland.

NOTE: Be careful if you walk all the way out on the exposed sand to watch for the incoming tide!  VIEW GALLERY

Skerries Dublin

Skerries is a fishing village in North County Dublin where you can see terns in the summer time as well as waders and sea ducks in winter, including Eider. Search for Red Island Car Park in Google and follow directions. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.5857162, -6.1034095. There is also access to the shoreline on the road from Skerries to Balbriggan. You can park here.... 53.5832402, -6.1228129. VIEW GALLERY

Turvey Nature Reserve Dublin

A parkland & woodland reserve with access to Rogerstown Estuary. Search for Turvey Nature Reserve in Google and use the map to get directions. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.492294, -6.181338. There are plenty of parking spaces at the entrance to the park. There are two walks just inside the gate. Turn left for a walk through parkland and woodland, and turn right for a walk through parkland to the birdhise overlooking the estuary. The bird hide is only open on Saturdays and Sundays in winter. VIEW GALLERY

Birding Locations Kildare


River Barrow & Grand Canal, Monasterevin

Monasterevin is located in County Kildare just off the M7 Motorway and about an hour away from Dublin. The River Barrow flows through the town as well as the Grand Canal. There is a harbour on the canal just outside the town. There are walkways along both the river and the canal with access to waterways, wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. The river is accessed near the centre of town and you can park at the following co-ordinates: 53.137723, -7.064679 . On street parking can be found in the town just a couple of hundred metres away. To access the canal harbour, park here 53.142432, -7.067557 and access is from both sides of the road. VIEW GALLERY


Birding Locations Louth

Dundalk

The Castletown River flows through Dundalk and there are several sites worth visiting, especially a couple of hours either side of high tide. There is a path along the river from the Newry Road to the Tain Bridge. Here you will see a large variety of waders, ducks and gulls. From Tain Bridge, you can follow the road to Dundalk Docks where the mudflats are exposed at low tide. Finally, you can walk from the docks to Navvy Bank Walk, which follows the estuary all the way to Soldiers Point. This area is good for birds in flight and in summer there has been a Forsters Tern here for several years. There is a large carpark at the Long Walk shopping centre which is located here: 54.006090, -6.404064

Turn left when you leave the carpark and keep going until you get to the river. It is less than 10 minutes away. You can also park in Dundalk Docks which is located here 54.009071, -6.391311

Soldiers Pint lies at the tip of the estuary of the Castletown River in Dundalk. This is a large tidal estuary and a great place to see a huge range of birds including gulls, terns, waders, ducks, and geese. Search Google Maps for Soldiers Point, Dundalk. This will take you to the end of a cul de sac where you can park and take the pathway at the end of the road. The path takes you back up along the estuary towards Dundalk. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 54.008275, -6.349086 VIEW GALLERY

Birding Locations Meath

Mornington Beach / River Boyne Estuary

The River Boyne enters the Irish Sea at Mornington beach in County Meath. The opposite bank of the river is in County Louth. The beach is south of the river and the estuary is tidal, with large exposed areas at low tide that attract birds. There is a car parking area at the back of the beach and dunes with access to the estuary and the beach. The car park is located here: 

53.722395, -6.253650 . The estuary is straight ahead of you. You can walk to the beach, or there is another parking area further to your right. VIEW GALLERY


Laytown County Meath

Laytown is a small town in County Meath with a long sandy beach. The River Nanny enters the Irish sea at Laytown and there is an expansive tidal estuary here. There is a large car park at the train station but it can often be busy. There is additional parking on the street. Just before you cross the pedestrian bridge over the river, there is a path that leads under the railway bridge. This takes you along the estuary which is good at low tide. You can also  follow the river out to the beach where gulls regularly roost. Sat Nav co-ordinates for the car park are 53.678448, -6.240908 . It is in Google as "River Nanny Car Park".  VIEW GALLERY


Birding Locations Northern Ireland

Lough Neagh, County Armagh

Lough Neagh is the largest lake on the island of Ireland. You can get good access to the lake and surrounding woodlands at Oxford Island Nature Reserve in Armagh. There is a car park and visitor centre there where you can get information and maps of the walks and locations of bird hides. Search for Oxford Island Nature Reserve in Google Maps. Sat Nat co-ordinates are 54.4965550, -6.3832002  VIEW GALLERY


Birding Locations Wicklow

Avoca and the Red Kite Walk

Avoca in County Wicklow is a small town on the Avoca River, just 4 Kilometres from the "Meeting of the Waters". There is a beautiful woodland walk called the "Red Kite Walk" as Red Kites are common in this area. The bridge in the centre of town gives great views to scan the area for soaring Kites. There is a footpath all the way from the town to the Meeting of the Waters. There is a small park here, the Thomas Moore, Memorial Park, where the Avonmore River and the Avonbeg River join to form the Avoca River. No Kites to be seen on my first visit, but I intend to keep visiting until I have a good photograph! There is a car park in the town. Go left when you exit the car park and the entrance to the Red Kite Walk is about 100 metres up on the right, beside the local school. If you exit to your right, you will come to the bridge. If you cross the bridge and take the first turn to your right, this leads to the Meeting of the Waters. Sat-Nav co-ordinates for the car park in Avoca are: 52.859427, -6.211944 . Sat-Nav co-ordinates for parking at the Meeting of the Waters are: 52.884852, -6.233461  VIEW GALLERY

Glendalough, County Wicklow

Glendalough is part of Wicklow Mountains National Park and it is a popular destination for visitors all year round. It can be busy at any time but it is still worth exploring for a wide variety of birds. There are 2 lakes, Upper and Lower and there is easy access by gravel pathways and board walks to both lakes. You can pick up a map of the various walking trails in the visitor centre. The walks take you along the lake, through woodlands and sections of open fields. Search for Glendalough Visitor Centre in Google Maps. There is a large car park an information office on the site. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 53.011247, -6.323421 VIEW GALLERY

East Coast Nature Reserve, Newcastle, County Wicklow

ECNR is a wildfowl reserve maintained by Birdwatch Ireland and it is located on the coast of Wicklow near Newcastle. The reserve has several walking trails and bird hides and habitats including parkland, reed beds and wetlands. This is a great site in winter for ducks, geese, swans and waders and in Spring and Summer for warblers, finches, buntings birds of prey. Just a few hundred metres past the entrance, there is access to the beach where you can see gulls, waders and terns, as well as divers in winter. If you turn left along the beach in Spring and early summer, you will see a protected area of conservation for little terns. It is about a 20 minute walk and it is managed by Birdwatch Ireland. There is limited parking at the entrance to the reserve (5 or 6 cars) but there is plenty of parking 500 metres further on at the beach. Sat-Nav co-ordinates are 53.070375, -6.042782 VIEW GALLERY


Birding Locations Wexford

Carne Beach Wexford

Carne Beach is located near Carnsore Point, the headland at the southeast tip of Ireland. There is a pier  protecting a small fishing harbour. On one side of the pier there is a sandy beach with sand dunes. On the other side, it is more rocky but with large sandy areas that make it easy to explore. You will see a wide variety of gulls, terns (in summer) and waders along the shore, as well as finches, chats and warblers around the local area. You can also find rare visitors during spring and autumn. Search for Carne Beach in Google Maps. When you reach the Lighthouse Bar, turn right to park at the harbour. From here you can access the beaches on both sides of the pier. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 52.197437, -6.349161.

Carne Beach is only a six minute drive from Our Lady's Island, so it is easy to visit both sites on the same day. VIEW GALLERY                        

Great Saltee Island Wexford

Great Saltee Island is one of 2 islands lying off the coast of Wexford. The Island is privately owned but the owners allow a limited number of visitors each day in Spring and Summer. This is a haven for seabirds. There is a ferry service from Kilmore Quay to Great Saltee Island. In order to be sure you get there, contact Declan Bates for reservations - Phone: +353 87 252 9736.  The ferry takes about 20 minutes. Search for "Kilmore Quay Harbour" in Google maps. There is a large public car park just 100 metres past the harbour. Sat-Nav co-ordinates: 52.1723143, -6.5894147.  VIEW GALLERY

Our Lady's Island, Wexford

Our Lady’s Island is best known as a place of pilgrimage and it attracts pilgrims today from all parts of Ireland. It is a small village on the edge of a lake that has 2 islands used by large numbers of terns each summer to nest and raise their young. It attracts Common Terns, Arctic Terns, Sandwich Terns and Roseate Terns. At other times of the year you can see waders of all sorts on the edge of the lake, as well as Herons, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Swans and various Ducks. There is a walk around part of the lake and a car park at the start of the walk. Search Google Maps for Our Lady's Island Wexford. Sat Nav co-ordinates are 52.210095, -6.381267 VIEW GALLERY

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve is located on the coast of South East Wexford. It covers a mix of farmland and wet grassy areas called the slobs, basically channels that drain excess water as the area is flooded a lot of the year. The area attracts migrating geese from Arctic countries including Greenland, Scandinavian countries, Russia and Canada. It is an important migration area in winter for over 8,000 White Fronted Geese which reside there from October to March. However, there is also a diverse range of birds there with approximately 250 species recorded.There are several hides on the reserve where you can get good views of Geese in late Autumn and Winter. There is a beach across the road, good for gulls and waders. Search Google Maps for "Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. Sat-Nav co-ordinates are 52.356269, -6.422013  VIEW GALLERY    

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