Monday, February 23, 2015

A Presentation "Irish Swifts in Decline: What Can We Do"? on Thursday 19 March

Swift photo Micheal Casey

 A Presentation entitled "Irish Swifts in Decline: What Can We Do?" by Micheal Casey (Birdwatch Ireland,Sligo Branch) will take place on Thursday 19 March at 8pm in Cavan County Museum.

This talk will be about the decline of swifts in Ireland,causes of this decline and what we can do about it.

Micheal is a vet with the Dept of Agriculture Food & the Marine's Laboratory Service. His interest in swifts is pursued outside of his work. He is also a bird ringer, with a special interest in swifts, dippers and peregrine falcons.

Micheal is involved with the swift conservation project and hopes to encourage local groups in the County to help out by getting involved in a local project.

Members of Tidy Towns committees and local Heritage groups are very welcome to attend this event!

The Branch AGM will take place prior to presentation at 7pm sharp.

More information on the Swift Conservation project can be found here

Saturday, January 24, 2015

February outing to Dundalk Bay

Grey Seal at Clogherhead

Our next outing will take place on Sunday 22th February. We will visit the new bird hide at Lurgangreen, Seabank, Annagassan Harbour and then head South towards Clogher Head.

To car share from Bailieborough,meet at the Market Square at 9am. If you would prefer to make your own travel arrangements please contact me at in advance of the trip to arrange a meet up point. 

We will spend 3 - 4 hours birding along Dundalk Bay and should see a good variety of waders,wildfowl, flocks of brent geese and some grey seals.

 It is recommended to bring along a snack and to wear warm waterproof clothing. Beginners are very welcome to come along!

Please check the blog for updates on any possible last minute changes,due to bad weather,closer to the date!

Contact number on the day Elizabeth 086 8336675

Date for your diary!- Thursday 19th March.

 A presentation by Micheal Casey "Dwindling Irish Swifts - what can we do ?" will take place on Thursday 19th March at 8pm in the Cavan County Museum. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Outing to West Cavan on 11th January

Lough Atain by Heather Bothwell

Citizen Science
Cavan Branch Birdwatch Ireland made a start on this year’s Irish wetland bird survey last weekend.This nationwide effort of citizen science happens every year.  The aim is to find and count the waders, wildfowl, gulls and other wetland specialists that are visiting Ireland. In addition this year a special effort is being made to find and count the whooper swans. 

 Map of the Lough Oughter Complex

   We meet up at Drumlane Abbey near Milltown, Belturbet, (see map), and started to count what we could see. Drumbrick lake is a wildfowl sanctuary so shooting is prohibited. The field behind the Abbey was being grazed by a flock of over 100 Canada geese. These feral birds are the descendants of birds escaped from wildfowl collections. The population appears to be increasing and could be regarded as an invasive species. See the following link for Canada goose information

Where are the birds?

 We split up into two groups and headed out to other sites. The Lough Oughter complex is a confusing flooded landscape of ribbed moraines and drumlins.  It takes time to find a route round to each lake and then find the birds. The birds move about depending on food supply, wind direction and shelter and human disturbance.

 Whooper Swans by Jonathan Shackleton
  However we managed to find tufted ducks, goldeneye, mallard, whooper swans, widgeon, teal, cormorants and great crested grebes. We also managed to pick up a buzzard and a sparrow hawk. I found it interesting to see how I constantly undercounted flocks compared to others in my group! I may be more careful with my counts!

Report on event by Heather Bothwell,Branch Chairperson.
 Upcoming Events

 For information on the  International Swan Census 2015 which takes place this weekend 17th and 18th January click here

whooper swans by Jonathan Shackleton

To report any sightings of Whooper Swans this weekend,contact the Birdwatch Ireland office at or a member of the local Branch.
For Branch contact details click here 

February - Sunday 22th outing to Dundalk Bay. More information on this event will be posted soon.

March - Thursday 19th . presentation by Micheal Casey "Dwindling Irish Swifts - what can we do ?" Cavan County Museum at 8pm. AGM prior to presentation at 7pm sharp.
 April  - Outing to Dowra, West Cavan. (Date to be confirmed)
May - Dawn chorus walks will take place in Bailieborough and Killeshandra

Saturday, December 20, 2014

January outing to West Cavan Lakes

Whooper Swans by Clare Donoghue

 The first branch outing of the New Year will take place on Sunday 11th January. We will meet up at 10am at Drumlane Abbey car park, Milltown. At Miltown lake, we hope to see a selection of waterbirds including some whooper swans. We will also carry out  I-WeBS (Irish Wetland Bird Survey) counts on Milltown Lake and other lakes in the area.

Event organiser Heather Bothwell.

It is recommended to wear warm waterproof clothing and appropriate footwear. Beginners and non-members are very welcome to attend all events!

For information on The Irish Wetland Bird Survey click here

For information on the  International Swan Census 2015  click  here

This event takes place on the weekend of 17th and 18th January. Contact the Birdwatch Ireland office at if you would like to help out with the survey.

Happy Christmas to all and Best Wishes for 2015!  

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November outing to Bull Island, Dublin

 Bull Island by Freddy Mc Gavin

On 9th November the group had a very pleasant outing to the Bull Island, Dublin. Those car-sharing met up in Bailieborough at 9am and arrived at the Bull Island causeway at 11am. The tide was rising which allowed for close up views of birds such as brent geese,pintail,shoveler and also a variety of waders.

Brent geese by Tom Mc Namara

  pintail by Tom Mc Namara
 The photographers in the group were delighted to have the opportunity to photograph the birds at close range.

redshank by Michael Mc Nulty

 teal by Michael Mc Nulty

 turnstone by Michael Mc Nulty

grey heron by Tom Mc Namara

 brent geese by Michael Mc Nulty
 As we were watching the birds on the causeway a number of local birders stopped to chat and to pass on lots of interesting birding information to us. Other birds of interest here were linnet,reed bunting,meadow pipit and stonechat. 

meadow pipit by Tom Mc Namara

 Enjoying watching the roosting waders

After a late lunch break we decided to head down the road to the Bull Wall. This was a lovely location and lots of people,who were out walking and enjoying the afternoon sunshine stopped to chat to us about the birds we were watching, Here we enjoyed watching the large flocks of roosting dunlin and sanderling.

sanderling and dunlin by Michael Mc Nulty

After a short stop for coffee we decided to fit in a quick visit to Broadmeadows before heading for home. It was interesting to see how tame the large flock of mute swans was here.

 mute swan cygnet by Tom Mc Namara

 Mute swans at Broadweadows

 View of Dublin Bay by Freddy Mc Gavin
The highlight for me on the day was the close up views of snipe and pintail and the sound of the brent geese on the Bull Causeway.

 This was the group’s first visit to sites in the Dublin area and information passed on to us by local birders was very welcome! We were delighted when Branch member and Dublin native Andrew Carlton agreed to organise a trip to the Dublin area. He did a great job of planning, travel and itinerary and on behalf of the Branch I would like to say a big thank you to Andrew!

Bull Island is a fantastic site to watch birds and we were more that impressed with the variety of birds there! 

For more information on the Bull Island Birds click here.

Thanks to Tom,Michael and Freddy for supplying me with the lovely photos to share on the Blog.


Don't forget to start feeding the garden birds now that the weather has got colder! Birdwatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey starts on 1st December.Click here for information on the survey and for lots of information on garden birds.  

Presentation on Irish Raptors by John Lusby

On Thursday 20th November John Lusby of Birdwatch Ireland gave a very interesting and entertaining presentation on Irish Raptors in Cavan County Museum.  John spoke to us about the fieldwork and conservation work being carried out in order to monitor long eared owl, kestrel and Barn owl. Lots of information on this conservation work can be found on the Irish Raptor Blog here, and also on the Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project Blog here.

John had some lovely photos and video clips to show us of owl chicks on the nest and also had footage of the efforts involved in trying to monitor and find nest sites for merlin! Although the work John does can be challenging and varied, it was clear to see form the presentation that he is very enthusiastic about his work as Raptor Conservation Officer. A special work of thanks to John on behalf of the Branch for coming to talk to us, and we hope he can make a return visit sometime.

Click here for Anglo Celt report on John's views on what can be done to lessen the impact of poisons on birds of prey.

To visit the Birdwatch Ireland website please click here.

Information on Branch events in January will be posted next month.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Raptor Presentation by John Lusby on 20th November in Cavan County Museum.


                                              Kestral Chicks. Photo by John Lusby
"All About Raptors" A Presentation by John Lusby, will take place in The Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8:00pm on Thursday 20th November.

 John is Birdwatch Ireland's Raptor Conservation Officer. He is a bird of prey expert and features regularly on the Mooney Goes Wild Show on RTE. He holds a ringing and filming licence for raptors and coordinates several conservation projects involving Barn Owl, Kestral, Long eared owl and Merlin.

 His last talk to the Branch back in 2012 in Bailieborough on his conservation work with Barn Owls was a great success and we are delighted to welcome him back to the County,this time to Ballyjamesduff.

 This event is hosted in conjunction with Cavan County Museum. All are welcome to attend and admission is free!