< Cavan Branch events from April 09 to April 10
April Corncrake talk
A presentation, entitled “All about Corncrakes”, was given by Sandy Alcorn, the Donegal Corncrake Fieldworker. It was held in the Bailieborough business centre and was very well attended, with approximately 30 turning up. Sandy talked us through the plight of the corncrake, and explained to us the threats facing the corncrakes as well as the measures being taken to conserve these birds. This topic is one close to many people’s hearts, as some of us still remember hearing the distinctive call of the Corncrake in the Cavan countryside in the past. Thanks very much to Sandy for a very enjoyable talk.
Sunday 17th May National Dawn Chorus Day
Two dawn chorus events took place for national dawn chorus day, one in Cavan and the other in Bailieborough. The groups met at 4.30 a.m. and 4.45 a.m. respectively. Both events were well attended, and the birds did not disappoint! The highlight of the Bailieborough event was the sighting of the newly-hatched mute swan cygnets. At the Cavan event the song of the garden warbler was heard.
Sunday 7th June Bird Atlas roving event
The group met in the car park of the Kilmore Hotel near Cavan town. Under the direction of Brian Caffrey, atlas co-ordinator, we decided on what areas needed most coverage and allocated an area to each of the three groups. After collecting records in our assigned area we met back at the hotel to compare notes on what we had seen and to discuss the progress of atlas work in Cavan to date with Brian.
Sunday 14th September outing to Swanlinbar
Eight attended this outing along the Hawkswood walk near Swanlinbar. The scenic walk, lovely sunshine and views of Cuilcagh Mountain were enjoyed by all. Birds of note included kestrel, buzzard and reed bunting.
Sunday 1st November outing to Dundalk Bay
Despite very poor weather conditions, five turned up for our outing to the Dundalk bay area. Thankfully, the rain cleared upon arrival in Dundalk. We met up with Breffni Martin and visited various sites in the locality. The first site visited was Seabank where we noted a variety of waders, including large flocks of black-tailed godwit, brent geese and greenshank
Next, we paid a visit to Navvy Bank. Notable birds here included a small number of scaup and we also enjoyed lovely views of wheeling flocks of golden plover. Unfortunately, a sharp wind prevented us from staying long at the site. We finished up at the docks where an abundance of waders were present, including a highlight of little egret. On the way home, we made a short detour to Lurgan Green as spotted redshank had been seen in the area. We observed many waders here but unfortunately no spotted redshank was seen. We would like to thank Breffni Martin for joining us.
Sunday 29th November Bird Atlas Event
The group met at the Lakeside car park in Virginia for the branch’s roving Bird Atlas event. Seven braved the icy road conditions to turn up for the outing. Unfortunately, Brian could not join us for the day due to the bad weather conditions. Niall, one of the atlas fieldworkers, came along to help us out on the day. We decided to split into three groups and to head off to areas in the county that had been poorly covered to date. Niall supplied us with the necessary information and maps to help us on our way. The first group headed for Canningstown, another to Ballyjamesduff and the third group, along with Niall, remained in the Virginia-Mullagh area. All who took part enjoyed the opportunity to explore new areas of the Cavan countryside and the remarkable numbers of redwings and fieldfares seen on the day made being out in the wintry conditions worthwhile.
Sunday 24th January Outing to Milltown Lake and the Belturbet waterways
Twelve people attended our outing to Milltown Lake and the Belturbet waterways. After meeting up at Drumlane Abbey car park we first went to Milltown Lake. Unfortunately, the foggy conditions meant that visibility was quite poor but nonetheless we managed to see large numbers of mute and whooper swans. We decided to move on and visit the waterways in Belturbet. Here we managed to get closer to the birds and were treated to views of greylag geese, black-headed gulls and little grebes.
Sunday 28th February Outing to Carlingford.
The group met up with Breffni Martin from the local Louth group at Templetown Beach on a lovely sunny Sunday morning.
We observed a number of cormorants and shags at this site. The birds had just come into breeding plumage and were looking very well. A few distant divers were also present. We than proceeded to the Carlingford Shore where we had the opportunity to see a selection of roosting birds close up due to a very high tide. Curlew, oystercatcher, bar-tailed godwit, dunlin and ringed plover were seen as well as a variety of waterfowl species and some brent geese. As we were leaving the site to move on, a carrion crow was spotted. The final Carlingford site visited was Ballagan where we saw some more brent geese and a selection of gull species. On the way home we called to Dundalk Docks and were lucky to finish up the day with close up views of two ruff. Thanks very much to Breffni for his time and for a very enjoyable first branch outing to Carlingford.
Wednesday 3rd March Talk in Killeshandra
Fionbarr Cross from the RSPB gave a presentation about the birds of Co. Fermanagh and his work with the RSPB in the Lough Bawn Hotel, Killeshandra. He discussed reserve management, habitat protection and the problems faced trying to protect the small population of breeding waders on the reserve from predators, for example gulls and badgers.Fionnbarr’s enthusiasm for this demanding work was evident. Thanks to Fionnbarr for a very informative and interesting talk.
Joint outing with the Monaghan Branch to Sliabh Beagh on Sunday 18th April
The group met at Monaghan Shopping Centre and then proceeded to Sliabh Beagh. We were greeted on arrival by the song of the skylark and were lucky to have good weather which allowed for clear views of the surrounding countryside. A Hen Harrier appeared in the distance after a short time of scanning the skies. We were happy to know that they were in the area and were optimistic that they would make another appearance before long. Luck was on our side and we were fortunate to get some fantastic close up views of a male. We also enjoyed some interaction in the skies between the pair of hen harriers and a pair of ravens. Buzzards were also present and some hooded crows. A small flock of golden plover was also present and a wheatear, perhaps on migration, stopped on a nearby post for a short rest to allow some good views. Thanks very much to Joe Shannon and the Monaghan Branch members for making us very welcome and we were also glad to have the company of some Birdwatch members from Dublin and Wicklow who had travelled up for the outing.