Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I - WeBs Workshop at Ballybay Wetland Centre on Sunday 2 December

Some information on this event by Helen Boland

On Sunday 2nd December, we are holding an I-WeBS workshop at the lovely Ballybay Wetlands Centre, Derryvalley Farm, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan.

It will run from 10am - 1pm after which there will be a field visit to look at some of the wintering waterbirds on the wetlands near the centre.  
This is a completely free event and we will provide tea and coffee and some light lunch.

The workshop is aimed at anyone who either already takes part or who is interested in participating in the survey.  Everybody is welcome. We will provide information about wintering waterbirds, and about the survey itself, how to count, and a bit of waterbird ID, and hopefully we will be able to sign up a few new recruits. No wetland is too small! And there is bound to be one in your area.

We will be holding at least one other workshop this season which we will forward details of as soon as possible.

In the meantime let me know if you would like to come along to this one In Ballybay, Monaghanso I can gather some idea about numbers and how much refreshments to provide.

Helen Boland
I-WeBS National Organiser

BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D, Bullford Business Campus | Kilcoole | Co. Wicklow 
Direct: 00 353 (0)1 2812410
Office: 00 353 (0)1 2819878

Irish Wetland Bird Survey
I-WeBS has been the mechanism for monitoring wintering waterbirds in Ireland for the last 18 years, with the results being used for site-protection and designation.  Hundreds of thousands of waterbirds migrate to Ireland each winter from breeding grounds in Arctic Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Siberia, Russia, and countless places in between. In order to try to conserve the many species that spend the winter here we need to monitor them to find out how many individuals there are of each species, if the size of each population is increasing, decreasing or stable, and we need to identify the network of sites that they use. With the help of thousands of hours of input from skilled volunteers and staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, this information is compiled and built-on every year.
The Irish Wetland Bird Survey  (I-WeBS) is a joint survey of BirdWatch Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Outing to Dundalk Bay Sunday 18 December

Some members of the group watching a flock of snipe

A very enjoyable day was had by all at our outing to Dundalk Bay on Sunday last.We started our outing at the Docks area and watched the birds there as the tide was rising. We had good views of a variety of birds including little egret, black tailed godwit, lapwing but the highlight for most was the flock of eight snipe and the two whooper swans.  We had a short stop at Blackrock before heading to Lurgangreen. 
This site is a really special place to be especially at high tide when massive numbers of waders fly in to roost. We were lucky to watch flocks of greylag and brent geese in the air along with wheeling flocks of knot.  As always it was very nice to enjoy the company of the Monaghan Branch and along with some good birding we also enjoyed lots of good chat.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Sunday 18 November Outing to Dundalk Bay with Monaghan Branch

Photo taken at Dundalk Docks by Michael Mc Nulty
Our next branch outing will take place on Sunday 18 November to Dundalk Bay.  This will be a joint outing with the Monaghan Branch and we will meet up at Dundalk Docks at 11am. We will visit a number of sites all within easy reach of the town and hope to see a good selection of waders and wildfowl. The event is timed to coincide with an incoming tide to enable us to get close up views of the birds as the tide comes in.
If you are travelling via Bailieborough and wish to car share, meet at the Market Sq at 10am. 
For more information contact 086-8336675
Packed lunch,warm waterproof clothing recommended. 

New Year Events

January 13 -   Outing to West Cavan Lakes. Meet Swan Lake, Gowna at 11am
February 21 -  A Presentation on "Waders and Wildfowl" by Breffni Martin (Louth Branch) will take place in Bailieborough Business Centre at 8pm

Check blog for updates on above events closer to date.

All winter events are subject to change. It may be necessary to cancel or to change the time of an event on short notice. If weather conditions are very poor on the day of an event it is advised to contact a branch member before travelling. Branch contact details can be found on the Birdwatch Ireland website here.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Bird Atlas Presentation by Brian Caffrey in Kilmore Church Hall

We were delighted to welcome Brian Caffrey, Birdwatch Ireland Atlas Coordinator to Kilmore Church Hall, Cavan on Wendesday 10 October last. Brian last talked to us back in June 2007 prior to the start of the Atlas survey work. He encouraged us all to get involved in the project and also joined us for a number of Atlas Roving Events locally during the four years of the project. We were all very eager to hear what he could tell us about the findings of the Atlas survey work and all present enjoyed Brian's very informative presentation. Brian sent on the following report.

Report By Brian Caffrey

I always look forward to meeting up with the Cavan Branch and was delighted to receive the usual warm welcome at Kilmore Church of Ireland Hall earlier in the month where I gave a talk on the Bird Atlas 2007-11 results.

With a staggering 1.3 million bird records entered to the Bird Atlas in Ireland, I was nice to meet with some of the 91 volunteers in Cavan who submitted an impressive 13,849 birds records during the project in the county.
 We soon moved on to the bit that everyone was waiting for; a sneak preview of the latest species maps. We started off with a selection of farmland birds: Yellowhammer, Corncrake, Curlew, Barn Owl, Redshank and Tree Sparrow. It was the decline in farmland birds that proved to be the big story in the last breeding atlas (1988-91), and sadly the maps showed the decline has continued at an alarming rate for many of these iconic species.
Yellowhammer map shows a large contraction in range in the north, west and south west of Ireland.
 Next we looked at a number of species that were showing very interesting, albeit concerning trends:  Willow Warbler, House Martin, Sedge Warbler, Cuckoo and Starling. A striking north-west/south-east trend is starting to emerge for a number of species (mainly summer migrants), which is possible related to climate factors. Will this be the big story of the 2007-11 Atlas?
 Willow Warbler Abundance Map
Willow Warbler Map: Red indicates an increase in numbers while black indicates a decline.
Then we finished up with Buzzard, Raven, Siskin, Blackcap, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Little Egret, a few good news stories of expanding species and new arrivals to our shores. It’s not all doom and gloom!

 There were no records of little Egret in Ireland in the last Winter Atlas 1981-84.

Before everyone disappeared off home, there was a quick reminder about all the BirdWatch Ireland surveys which require volunteer help http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/Ourwork/Volunteersurveys/tabid/1217/Default.aspxWith the Autumn migration now well underway there was a  particularly focus on BirdTrack www.birdtrack.net , a fantastic online system for entering all your bird sightings.