Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cavan Branch Outing to Dundalk Bay, Sunday 27th November

Report by Elizabeth

A branch outing to Dundalk bay took place on Sunday 27th November. We met up at the Fairways hotel at midday and were joined by Breffni Martin of the Louth branch. Our first stop was near Lurgangreen where we spotted greylag, pink-footed and white fronted geese feeding in the fields. Flocks of lapwing and golden plover were also seen, with their plumage spectacularly illuminated by the bright sunlight. Next we visited Seabank where we picked up little egrets and a variety of roosting waders, before heading on to Annagassin and Salterstown.  At Annagassin we stoped off at the harbour where we enjoyed views of turnstones, redshank, widgeon and a variety of gull species. Also present were flocks of linnets and greenfinches feeding on the weeds. At Salterstown we got some good views of common scoters, divers and close-up views of some wader species. The highlight of the day was when we stopped off on our way home to observe the geese flocks once again. A tundra bean goose had been spotted earlier in the day feeding along with the greylags. Unfortunately we did not see the bean goose, but we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent observing the flocks of brent, pink-footed, greylag and white-fronted geese feeding. A great finish to a great days birding!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Outing to Dundalk Bay Sunday 27th November

Our next branch outing will take place on Sunday 27th November to Dundalk Bay. We will be joined by Breffni Martin of the Louth branch. The outing is timed to coincide with a high tide and will last approximately 2 hours. We hope to see a good variety of waders and other waterbirds as this location is a very important wintering area for many species including the black-tailed godwit (see above picture). We will visit Lurgangreen and go south to Annagassin and Salterstown. Meet at the Fairways Hotel Car park at 12 midday or if you are travelling via Bailieborough and wish to car share, meet  in the Market Square at 11am sharp.

Packed lunch and waterproof clothing and footwear recommended.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Outing to Inch Reserve, Co. Donegal

Report by Elizabeth

A joint outing with the Donegal branch of Birdwatch Ireland to Inch Lough and Levels, Lough Swilly, was held on 29th October. After meeting up at 10am we enjoyed a short time on the reserve’s viewing platform watching swans and geese in the lough and its surroundings. Fortunately we made it to the hide as the weather began to turn and were able to enjoy a very pleasant couple of hours in the shelter of the hide watching a great variety of birds. The calls of large numbers of whooper swans which had recently arrived from Iceland greatly added to the atmosphere. Greylag and Canada geese were also present in the estuary, as were a large variety of ducks including shoveler and gadwall. Other sightings included curlew sandpiper, ruff and lapwing. By early afternoon the weather began to clear and the sun came out for a short while, allowing those of us still at the reserve to enjoy some good birding before reluctantly heading home! A big thank you to Ralph Sheppard and the Donegal Branch for their good company and help on the day.  All those who travelled up from Cavan thoroughly enjoyed our visit and were very impressed with Inch reserve and the variety of birds to be found there.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Birdwatch Ireland joint Donegal and Cavan Branch outing

 A Joint outing with the Donegal Branch will take place on Saturday 29th October to Inch Lough and Levels, Buncrana,Lough Swilly,Co Donegal. We hope to see a great variety of water-birds including annual spectacle of newly-arrived flocks of migrant geese and swans.
 Meet at 10:00am at the Reserve car park beside the embankment. This is reached by turning left at Burt Church when coming from Letterkenny. Then,keep straight when the main Road curves right and this narrow road will lead you to the reserve car park
If you are travelling up on the day from Co. Cavan please email with your contact details in advance in case of any last minute changes.
Warm waterproof clothing recommended. You may bring a packed lunch if you wish and there is also a hotel and filling station close by with catering facilities.
Branch contacts details and information on upcoming events  can be found here.

Presentation By Niall Hatch in Virginia

Report by Elizabeth

“The Waterbirds of County Cavan”, a talk by Niall Hatch, was held in the Riverfront Hotel Virginia on 4th October. There was a good turnout for this very informative talk where we learned many interesting facts about water-birds. Niall spoke of the conservation efforts of Birdwatch Ireland to protect the breeding sites of roseate and little terns but reminded us how important it is that these birds are also protected in their wintering grounds in Africa. He spoke of the importance of Ireland also as a wintering site for many species of waterfowl, in particular the slobs in Wexford which holds a large percentage of the population of Greenland White-fronted geese during the winter months.  It was also interesting to hear how some species such as the little egret have begun to breed in Ireland whereas the breeding populations of curlews has crashed in recent years, sadly leaving them at risk of being lost as a breeding species here. Clink on the following link to learn more about Birdwatch Irelands appeal to save this bird here.

 We would like to say thank you to Niall for visiting the branch and for a really interesting presentation.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

"The Water-birds of Co. Cavan"

Niall Hatch of Birdwatch Ireland will give an illustrated talk on the waterbirds of Co. Cavan in the Riverfront Hotel, Virginia at 8pm on Tuesday 4th October.

 This talk will be of interest to anyone who would like to learn more about the various wildfowl and other waterbirds that visit our county in the winter months and are encountered when out and about. Niall is a regular contributor to the Mooney show on RTE and the Morning Show on TV3. His previous talks to the branch were a great success and we look forward to his return. All welcome to attend!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Heritage week outing to Templeport Lake

Report by Heather

To start off the autumn season the branch visited Templeport lake, Bawnboy Co. Cavan on Sunday the 28th August. The lake shore has a good range of habitat with reed beds, marsh area, mature woodland and river.  There are a number of small lakes in the area which carry a range of water fowl and are counted in the winter for the Irish wetland bird survey as the "east Ballinamore lakes". In the winter, whooper swans can number about 100 and widgeon 200. We were blessed with a good day and a very pleasant, interesting walk along the lake. The lake
didn't have large number of water birds to see as would be expected at this time of year, but we did see great crested grebe and young and a group of mute swans. The outing was well supported by locals from the Templeport area and the Development association, and we were made very welcome. It is certainly an area worth dropping in to over the winter and spring to see what is about.
To view photos visit the Bawnboy webpage here

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Outing to Templeport Lake, Bawmboy.

We look forward to recommencing branch activity soon with an event to mark Heritage week which takes place from 20th -28th August. Branch Chairperson Heather Bothwell will host a guided walk around Templeport Lake, Bawnboy on Sunday 28th August at 2pm. As this is a heritage week event booking is essential. To book a place phone Heather on 0876699681

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bird Atlas Project to finish soon. Cavan records needed!

Brian Caffrey Irish Atlas coordinator appeals for your help with the bird atlas project! We have held a number of bird atlas events in the county over the last four years and have managed to collect lots of records but more help is still needed! click on the link below to learn more about the project and how you can help.

 If you wish you may download a paper form and post your sightings to Brian Caffrey, BirdWatch Ireland, Midlands Office, Crank House Banagher, Co. Offaly.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Dawn Chorus Farnham Estate, Cavan

Report by Heather:

We walked from the hotel to Farnham lake through some very nice habitat of old mixed woodland, big mature oak pines and fir. At the beginning all three thrushes and robins were serenading us. As light increased wrens, goldcrests, and the warblers joined in. Chaffinch, bluetit and coal tit near the end. We picked up swans, coots, greatcrested grebes, herons and mallard at the lake. No sign of terns or blackheaded gulls ( this was  a breeding site in the past). The highlight for me was a red squirrel moving about the front lawn of the big house where there are several very old big conifers.

The Cavan branch is very grateful to the Farnham estate for permission to visit such a rich  interesting habitat . It has interesting native flora with a high density of song birds.

Dawn Chorus Castle Lake Woods Bailieborough

Enjoying a teabreak

Olive Mary and Patricia

Report by Elizabeth Mc Kenna

A National Dawn Chorus day outing took place at the Castle Lake Woods on Sunday 15 May. We gathered in the car park at 4.30am. It was great to see such a good turn out so early in the morning. As we began our walk we enjoyed the sight of bats flying overhead and the sound of thrushes and blackbirds which had already begun singing. Over the course of the walk we recorded many species including sedge warbler, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler and reed bunting.  We finished off the morning with a cup of tea and refreshments. Thanks to Mary, Olive and Patricia for the buns and homemade bread!

Friday, 6 May 2011

National Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 15 May

The Dawn Chorus has now reached it’s peak as returning migrants along with our resident birds are in full song.Come along to one of our Dawn Chorus Events to fully appreciate birdsong at it’s best!

Dawn Chorus Walks Sunday 15th May in Co. Cavan.

Castle Lake Woods, Bailieborough.

Meet at the main car park,lear entrance at 4.30am.

Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel (outside Cavan town).

Meet at the front door of hotel at 4.30am.

Breakfast available in hotel restaurant .Pre-booking is essential and bookings must be made through the Botanical Restaurant on 049 4377700.

For more information on the Dawn Chorus click here.

Monday, 11 April 2011

"Irish Birds: Facts and Folklore" Talk by Breffni Martin

A most enjoyable talk was given by Breffni Martin on "Irish Birds: Facts and Folklore" on 7th April in Killeshandra.Breffni informed us of the association between birdlife and mythology such as the association between elusive birds like owls and rales and the banshee. We also learnt of past superstitions about birds including the belief that species such as the pied wagtail were unlucky. It was interesting to hear how in times before bird migration was fully understood, the seasonal disappearance of certain species led to the formation of beliefs such as the suspected link between barnacle geese and goose barnacles.

The Branch A.G.M took place prior to the talk. Committee for the coming year is as follows: Chairperson: Heather Bothwell, Killeshandra. Secretary: Elizabeth Mc Kenna, Bailieborough. Treasurer: Sean Callaghan, Virginia.
General committee: Michael Mc Kiernan, Paddy Ronaghan, PJ Byrne Peadar Reynolds and Yvette Von Cramon.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Talk by Breffni Martin 7 April in Killeshandra

A presentation by Breffni Martin "Irish Birds: Facts and Folklore" will take place in the Resource House, Main Street, Killeshandra on Thursday 7 April at 8pm.

All welcome and admission is free.

Members AGM will take place before the talk at 7.30pm.

Carlingford outing Sunday 20 March

Sunday 20th March: Carlingford Outing

The group met up in Carlingford at 11 am and was joined by Breffni Martin of the Louth Branch and some of his Drogheda students. We spent the first hour or so observing a good selection of roosting birds.The tide was exceptionally high making it difficult for the birds to find a spot to roost on due to the fact that the moon was exceptionally close to the Earth around this time.A good variety of birds were seen including bar-tailed godwit, turnstone, curlew and large numbers of brent geese. The next site visited was Ballagan point where we were lucky enough to encounter a small flock of tree sparrows as we got out of our cars. Also encountered at the site were Great Northern and Red Throated Divers, gannets and a sandwich tern (a welcome sign of Spring). To finish up we headed to Giles’ Key where we spotted more divers and a seal feeding close to the pier. The highlight of the day had to be watching large numbers of brent geese flying overhead as they returned to their feeding sites to take advantage of the retreating tide. Thanks to Breffni for sharing his great local knowledge of birds at the sites with us.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Outing to Carlingford Sunday 20 March

Outing to Carlingford

The next branch outing will take place in Carlingford on Sunday 20th March. We will be joined by Breffni Martin of the Louth branch of BirdWatch Ireland. The outing is timed to coincide with a high tide and will last approximately 2 hours. We hope to see a variety of waders and other waterbirds including the little egret (see picture above), which is quite a common sighting in the area.

Meet at the Four Seasons hotel in Carlingford at 11a.m. or if you wish to car share meet at the market square Bailieborough at 9.30 a.m.

Bird Atlas Roving Event Sunday 20 February

Bird Atlas Roving Event

A Bird Atlas roving event took place on Sunday 20th February. The group met at the Kilmore Hotel car park on a pleasant Sunday morning. Here we met with atlas co-ordinator Brian Caffrey. We split into four groups- each group was assigned a 10km square to visit and was supplied with maps and a list of target species for that square. Our aim was to go out and record as many missing species as possible from our list. Some groups had more success than others but each group did manage to collect some very worthwhile records for the bird atlas. More information on the bird atlas click here.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Bird Atlas Roving Event Sunday 20 February

A Bird Atlas roving event will take place on Sunday 20th February. Meet at the lower car park of the Kilmore Hotel, Cavan at 10.30am.

Under the direction of Brian Caffrey, atlas co-ordinator for Ireland, we will split into small groups and each group will visit locations in the area where records of bird species are needed. Each group will be provided with the relevant map.

If you are interested in taking part please email as we need to know numbers taking part in advance to ensure that each group will have an experienced member.

For more information about the bird atlas visit the bird atlas website here

Outdoor footwear and waterproofs recommended.

It would be a good idea to bring along a snack and a drink as we may be out for approx 2 to 3 hours.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Milltown Lake outing

The group met up at the historic setting of Drumlane Abbey on the morning of Sunday 16th January.A good selection of waterbirds were seen including large flocks of tufted duck and widgeon,with smaller numbers of mallard and teal present. Other species seen included heron,cormorant,canada geese along with flocks of whooper and mute swans.
There was a good turn out for this outing and the pleasant weather and good company made for a very enjoyable morning for all.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Outing to Milltown lake

On Sunday 16th January, the branch is holding an outing to Milltown Lake. Meet at Drumlane Abbey car park, Milltown at 10.30 am. In the event of poor weather/road conditions be sure to check the blog to ensure the outing is going ahead as planned.

Directions: The abbey is South of Milltown village and located up a small lane- it is signposted from the crossroads in the village

November Talk by Eric Dempsey

"A Year of Birds", a talk by Eric Dempsey, was held in the Riverfront hotel Virginia on 25th November. The wintery conditions held off for just long enough to allow the talk to take place. The talk was well-attended and the audience enjoyed a great selection of photos taken over the year, many demonstrating the hardship experienced by birds in the cold spell of January 2010. Eric spoke with great enthusiasm and his talk inspired us to make an extra effort to feed birds during cold spells of weather.