Monday, 11 January 2016

The first branch outing of the New Year will take place on Sunday 24th 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.

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

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here

Monday, 21 December 2015

Lough Sheelin's shores

Despite the snow and the rain and the cold, a brave few souls set off to explore the sites along the shores of Lough Sheelin.
The snow of the previous days had melted thankfully but the sky was grey so visibility was quite poor.

Michael has great local knowledge and had planned a route around the lake – from Crover to Mountnugent, stopping at Ross Castle and Sailors' Garden. We also visited Lough Kinale and Bracklagh. 
Though we started off slowly, with only a bird or two on view from the hotel grounds, this recorder soon found herself rapidly turning the corners of her book to remember our sightings! 
A goldcrest calmly flitted from branch to branch in front of us, allowing us to get a great close-up of this tiny bird. A flock of long-tailed tits took flight from trees near the water's edge.
Mute swans, wigeon, gadwall, teal, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, cormorant, great crested grebe, little grebe, grey heron, an enormous group of coot (AKA a cover of coot!)  numbering around a thousand according to one estimate, and water rail all were on the water on the lakes.
In a field overlooking Lough Kinale we spotted some redwing and fieldfare along with starling and chaffinch.

Sadly, we weren't the only ones watching the birds; a hunter had set up decoys and a whirling device on the lake and as we watched some tufted ducks in flight coming to join the flock we heard the shots and saw them fall. 
Many thanks to Michael for leading the event, it's one definitely worth revisiting in spring. 
P.S if I'm missing any birds from our count please let me know!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dundalk Bay

Outing to Dundalk Bay on Sunday 15th November.

We left for Dundalk from Bailieborough at 9 am on what was a very wet November morning. By the time we reached our first stop, Annigassin Harbour, the weather conditions had improved considerably. At Annigassin, we spent a short time observing the many waders and gulls before moving to our next stop, Seabank at Castlebellingham. Seabank is a great site to watch waders- as high tide approaches the views of lapwing, golden plover and black tailed godwits in flight can be stunning! We were not disappointed and enjoyed watching the birds gather here as the tide came in. En route to our next destination, the Oscar Merne hide at Lurgangreen, we stopped to view the large flocks of geese in the fields close by. Here we viewed graylag and white-fronted geese and large numbers of curlew, some ruff and golden plover. Also present amongst the geese flocks was a pink-footed goose- a real treat! The tide was high when we arrived at the Lurgangreen hide. It was nice to have shelter from the elements and to view the birds from the comfort of the hide! After a short stop for coffee we finished up the day at the Dundalk docks. Here we enjoyed watching cormorants feeding and lapwings returning in to feed as the tide levels dropped. A special thanks to Gerry O' Neill for keeping us posted on what birds were present in the area and to both Gerry and Peter for meeting up with us at the hide.

Report and photos Elizabeth Mc Kenna

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Dundalk outing

Cavan Birdwatch branch are travelling to Dundalk on Sunday 15th November.
All are welcome to join us.
To car share, meet at Bailieborough Market Square at 9am sharp.
To meet with the group at Dundalk Bay contact Liz on mobile or by email in advance to arrange a meet up point.

Monday, 9 November 2015

An unusual sighting!

Michael photographed this blackbird lately and sent it on with a helpful attachment from Birdwatch Ireland.
It seems that colour aberrations like this are unusual but albinism is more common in blackbirds than most other species.
Many thanks for the interesting picture and the helpful info Michael!

I've also added an RSPB link to their page on similar colour variations; (complicated words that you get bonus points for pronouncing correctly!)

Monday, 19 October 2015

Trip to Sligo

We gathered in Cartron car park on a cold but clear Sunday morning to explore the favoured sites of Sligo birdwatch.
Michael Bell met us with a booklet of local birds published in association with Sligo Tidy Towns.
In Cartron we saw great black backed gull, herring gull and wigeon.
Our next destination was to Bunduff lake where there was a flock of whooper swans, one or 2 mute swans as well as mallards exhibiting un-mallard-like behaviour!
To Mermaid's Cove where a flotilla of eider caused great delight, cormorants, oystercatchers, great northern divers, black guillemot and a trio of brent geese.
At Raughly we spotted heron, sanderling, turnstone, curlew and rock pipit.

It is entirely possible that we spotted a great many more than these! We shall wait for more detailed reports from those who weren't desperately turning down corners in their books to remember what they saw!