Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dusk Chorus Walk Killykeen Forest Park

Photo Heather Bothwell

A Dusk Chorus walk will take place at Killykeen Forest Park on Saturday 2 June. Meet at the main car park at 8.30pm.

The walk will be led by Heather Bothwell and it will be a good opportunity to enjoy birdsong before the birds settle down for the night. After this event we will be taking a break for the summer and resume branch activities in the autumn.

Visit the following link to hear the song of the garden warbler one of the birds the group hope to hear in Killykeen. 

Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Warm waterproof clothing and footwear recommended.
For more information on Birdwatch Ireland events visit

Garvagh Lough,Blacklion Dawn chorus

photo Heather Bothwell

report by Heather
Dawn chorus 2012 at Garvagh lough, which is in west Cavan, near Blacklion  was a very enjoyable morning.   Situated in an upland area we got fine views of Cuillcagh mountain and neighbouring hills. We compiled a diverse list of songsters with highlights of cuckoo, skylark, meadow pipit,whitethroat, stonechat and flocks of redpoll. (the total was 29 species) The area is to be highly recommended not just for the birds , but also the orchids , rare plants and rare butterflies. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bailieborough Dawn Chorus Walk

Lakeshore Castle Lake Woods
Watching  goldcrests

Report by Elizabeth

The group met up at the car park of the castle-lake woods at 4.30am on Sunday 20th May.  The sun was already beginning to rise, and the song of blackbirds and song thrushes and the sight of mist rising over the lake made for a very atmospheric start. We enjoyed the song of a variety of birds including sedge warbler, willow warbler, chiffchaff but possibly the most impressive singer was the blackcap, quite a few of which were noted during the walk. We got great views of a pair of bullfinches and also some lovely views of a goldcrest before pausing along our route to observe the lakeside birds - a mute swan on the nest along with good numbers of great crested grebes, one of which was observed on a floating nest. The real treat of the morning was a sighting of a red squirrel which distracted our attention away from the birds for a few moments. All agreed that a walk in the forest at dawn is certainly a worthwhile experience! We enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and a good chat before heading home. A special thank you to all who brought along  refreshments.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

National Dawn Chorus Day: Sunday 20th May

The blackbird: a star of the dawn chorus

To celebrate National Dawn Chorus day two events will be held in Co. Cavan on Sunday 20th May. This will be a great opportunity to learn about birdsong and enjoy an early morning walk. Come along and join a walk at one of the following locations:

Castle Lake woods. Meet at lakeshore car park, Lear entrance at 4.30 am

meet at the car park at the chapel at Gowlan crossroads, Moygashel at 6 am

Appeal for Curlew Records

BirdWatch Ireland is urgently appealing for records from Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan of the now rare and endangered Curlew.  They breed mostly on bogs and rushy pastures and at this time of year when they are nesting, they may be seen displaying over moorland or farmland and making their distinctive bubbling call as they circle their territories.  Once common throughout the north and west of Ireland, indications are that the species is on the verge of extinction in the country.  Daniel Moloney, Curlew Fieldworker, is asking people to phone him with any records of breeding pairs on 085 7398411 or to email him at  Records can also be submitted via the Cry of the Curlew page of the BirdWatch Ireland website ( where you can also listen to the bird’s call.

Hoopoe visits Kilcogy,Co. Cavan

Photo Paul and Laura O' Reilly

 This hoopoe spent a couple of days in Kilcogy in late March! A great sighting for the county and thanks to Paul and Laura O' Reilly for the lovely photos!  

Cuckoo photo below taken by Michael on 6th May in Mountnugent.

Cuckoo by Michael Mc Kiernan

Raptor presentation by John Lusby in Bailieborough

report by Elizabeth

“Raptors of Ireland”, a presentation by Birdwatch Ireland’s raptor conservation officer John Lusby took place in Bailieborough on Thursday 26th April. John spoke to us about the raptor conservation projects he is currently involved in including work with long eared owls, kestrels and barn owls. We were informed on the recent findings of the Barn Owl Conservation Project and on how with the aid of satellite tracking and ringing much has been learned about the feeding and nesting habits of these birds in Ireland. Although the population has declined dramatically since the 1970’s, we still have many suitable nesting sites here in Ireland and it is quite likely we may have breeding barn owls in Cavan. The project has shown the stronghold of the present population to be the south west of the country and analysis of owl pellets has shown the bank vole and the recently discovered white-toothed shrew to be the main prey of barn owls. However secondary poisoning from eating poisoned rats and mice is a major threat to the barn owl. John showed us footage of barn owls in flight and played the calls we would be likely to hear this time of year if there are breeding birds in the area.
If you think you may have breeding barn owls in your area or if you would like information on  putting up a nest box please contact John at Visit this very informative blog for lots of information on birds of prey here

The Branch AGM took place prior to the talk and the 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 Tom Broe.
For Branch contact details please visit the Birdwatch Ireland website