Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dusk and Dawn Chorus Events

Dusk Chorus walk in Killeshandra.

This year we will also be holding a dusk chorus event,on Sunday 28th April, starting out from the Green Lake car park,Cavan Road, Killeshandra at 7.30pm. 

 Just like at dawn,at dusk there is generally an upsurge in birdsong and it's a nice time of the evening to enjoy a walk.  This event will  last approximately one hour.

 Event organizer Heather Bothwell-

 National Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 18th May

To celebrate National Dawn Chorus day two events will be held in Co.Cavan on Sunday 18th May National Dawn Chorus Day.These events will provide a great opportunity to learn about birdsong while enjoying an early morning walk. Come along and join a walk at one of the following locations:

Killeshandra: Meet at Green Lake Car Park,Cavan Rd,Killeshandra.

 Event organizer,Heather Bothwell -

Bailieborough: Meet at the Castle Lake Forest, lakeshore car park,Lear entrance.

Event organizer Elizabeth Mc Kenna -

Both walks will commence at 4.30am. At this time (just before dawn) one gets to experience birdsong at its best in the quiet and stillness of the early morning. It provides an opportunity to hear the chorus build from just a lone thrush or blackbird to a full chorus of all the birds in the forest! The walks will last about an hour and we recommend wearing warm clothes and bringing along a snack and hot drink to enjoy afterwards. 

Presentation on wildlife photography by Mark Carmody and AGM

Presentation by Mark Carmody

"A rough guide to wildlife photography", a presentation by wildlife photographer Mark Carmody, was held in Cavan County Museum on 20th March after the AGM. Mark described to us how his interest in wildlife photography developed and showed us lovely examples of his work in Ireland and Japan. He also told us of his collaboration with Jim Wilson in producing the first photographic field guide to the Birds of Ireland and gave the budding wildlife photographers among us many helpful tips to improve our skills. His presentation was very informative and enjoyable and we were delighted to have him come speak to the Cavan branch. 

Thanks to Savina and the staff at the museum for hosting the event.


The AGM took place prior to the presentation at 7pm.The following people were elected to serve on the committee for the coming year.
Chairperson Heather Bothwell,Killeshandra
Secretary     Elizabeth Mc kenna,Bailieborough
Treasurer    Sean Callaghan, Virginia.

General committee : PJ Byrne, (Vice Chairperson), Michael Mc Kiernan (Vice Secretary), Peadar Reynolds (Vice Treasurer) Yvette Von Cramon and Nigel Beresford.

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here


Thursday, February 20, 2014

"A Rough Guide to.. Wildlife Photography" A Presentation by Mark Carmody on Thursday 20th March

Photo: Mark Carmody

 "A Rough Guide to.. Wildlife Photography"  A presentation by Mark Carmody will take place on Thursday 20th March in Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8pm.

  Mark is a keen birder/wildlife photographer and, along with Jim Wilson, has recently produced the first photographic ID guide to the birds of Ireland which is called, "The Birds of Ireland, A field Guide" (produced in association with BirdWatch Ireland).

 Mark's presentation will tell the story of how he started in wildlife photography and how the books he has published along with Jim Wilson came about. He will talk to us about  the photography techniques he has learned and how he has put them into practice. The talk will be illustrated with many photographs of birds and wildlife from Ireland and abroad and is geared to suit both photographers and also those with a general interest in wildlife.
  Other books produced by Mark and Jim include "Shore-Birds of Ireland" and "Fresh-Water Birds of Ireland"
Copies of Mark and Jim's new book will be for sale on the night after the presentation.

All welcome and admission is free!

Click here to visit Mark's photography website

Cavan Branch Members AGM will take place prior to the talk at 7pm sharp.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dundalk Bay Sunday 2th February

Watching roosting waders at Dundalk Docks

A branch outing to Dundalk Bay was held on 2nd February. We luckily chanced upon a dry and bright morning, which was unexpected after the recent spate of stormy weather! We met up at Dundalk docks at 10.30am. Here we enjoyed views of teal, lapwing, golden plover and various gull species before the rising tide levels meant it was time to move on.

 Oystercatchers. photo: Michael Mc Nulty

  Teal at Dundalk Docks photo: Clare Donoghue

 Black-headed gull photo: Clare Donoghue
Photo: Michael Mc Nulty

 Our next stop was Lurgangreen, where large numbers of roosting waders were present. Among the waders, we spotted a few goldeneye and a pair of pintail ducks.

Lurgangreen. photo: Freddy Mc Gavin 

Giles Quay photo: Freddy Mc Gavin

Before finishing up for the day, we visited Gyles' Quay. Here we watched ringed plover and turnstone feeding on the beach, as well as good numbers of gull species. Although the sea was very choppy we did manage to get  some close-up views of a great northern diver and a group of red-breasted mergansers feeding in the harbour, which made for a great end to the day's birding.

 Great northern diver photo: Clare Donoghue

stonechat photo: Clare Donoghue

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Outing to Dundalk Bay Sunday 2th February

Geese and waders at Lurgangreen,Dundalk photo by Claire Donoghue

An outing to Dundalk Bay will take place on Sunday 2th February.The outing is timed to coincide with an incoming tide to maximise our chances of getting close views of waders and other waterbirds. We will visit a few sites near the town and then head south towards Annagassin. To car share from Bailieborough, meet at the Market Square at 9.30am. To meet with the group in Dundalk,meet at Dundalk Docks at 10.30am. 
Best to bring a packed lunch and to wear waterproof clothing and footwear.
Beginners very welcome!

Contact number on the day for this event is (086)8336675. If weather conditions are poor on the morning of event please check blog or phone/text for information on any changes.

Upcoming Event in March.

A presentation by Mark Carmody - "A Rough Guide to.. Wildlife Photography" will take place on Thursday 20th March in Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8pm.

Mark is a keen birder/wildlife photographer and Co- author along with Jim Wilson of the recently published photographic field guide "The Birds of Ireland, A field Guide" This lovely book has been produced in association with Birdwatch Ireland.

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

Cavan I-WeBs Count Event at Milltown on 12th January

Olivia talking to group at Milltown

The group met up at Drumlane Abbey car park Milltown where we were joined by Olivia Crowe from Birdwatch Ireland. Olivia explained the importance of the I-WeBS survey and why Lough Oughter is such an important location for wetland birds. We then divided ourselves up into small groups to go out and count individual lakes. The good turnout meant that we were able to have a mix of beginners and those with more experience of doing surveys in each group. Unfortunately the weather conditions deteriorated through the day, but an enjoyable day was had by all nonetheless! Thanks to Olivia Crowe and to everyone who came along to help out with the survey.

To learn more about the Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) click here or read post by Niall Tierney is previous blog post (December)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunday 12 January outing to Miltown Lake and I-WeBs Event

Whooper Swans on Parkers Lake

The first branch outing of 2014 to Miltown Lake will be held on Sunday 12th January. We will meet up at 10am at Drumlane Abbey car park, Milltown. At Miltown lake, we hope to see a varied selection of waterbirds including whooper swans ( in photo above). Following the main outing we will also perform an I-WeBS (Irish Wetland Bird Survey) count of Milltown lake and other lakes in the locality. Those interested in taking part in the survey will be divided up into small groups. Each group will be assigned a few local lakes to visit in order to record the number and variety of bird species present at each site. If you are interested in visiting Miltown Lake ,or would like to know more about the survey, come along and find out what it's all about. Lots of information about this survey and why it is so important to monitor waterbirds during Winter can be found on the Birdwatch Ireland website here  This event will be lead by Olivia Crowe who is the Conservation & Science Officer with Birdwatch Ireland.

In the event of poor weather/road conditions on the day, be sure to check this blog to ensure the outing is going ahead as planned!

Drumlane abbey is South of Milltown village and located up a small lane- it is signposted from the crossroads in the village.

Happy Christmas to all and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!


More information on I-WeBs by Niall Tierney.
BWI Conservation Officer - Waterbirds

The Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) is the scheme that monitors wintering waterbirds across Ireland. It is jointly run by BirdWatch Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife service. Wetlands of all types and sizes are monitored, and each winter more than 250 wetland sites are covered by over 300 enthusiastic volunteers.

I-WeBS is simply a monthly count of all the wintering waterbirds at a wetland. The data is recorded on count forms provided by the I-WeBS Office or entered onto the online data entry system at the end of each visit. More detail on the methods can be found at the link below.

The objectives are to assess: population sizes, the importance of individual wetland sites, and changes in abundance and distribution over time.

The type of sites covered range from small ponds and river stretches with small numbers of birds that can easily be can covered by one observer with a pair of binoculars, to large complex estuaries that hold thousands of birds and require a team of experienced observers with telescopes. Many of the sites that require coverage in Cavan are manageable with a pair of binoculars.

Olivia Crowe will be running an I-WeBS day in Co. Cavan on the Sunday 12th January in order to introduce I-WeBS to a wider audience and to get some of Cavan’s many wetlands covered. Despite a number of dedicated I-WeBS counters in Cavan, it is always tricky to achieve full coverage due to the sheer number of wetlands in the county!

Getting involved with I-WeBS is a great way to make your birding count, and we’re always looking out for new recruits! By taking part, you’ll be helping us to fulfil our legal obligations to the EU Birds Directive to monitor the trends in our waterbird populations and to identify the most important sites for them. It’s also good fun and a great way to brush up on your waterbird ID skills!