Wednesday, 18 December 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!

Black Swans visit Mullagh lake

Photo Michael Mc Kiernan

A pair of black swans have recently appeared on Mullagh Lake. These birds are native to Australia and are likely to have escaped from someone's private collection. Committee member Michael Mc Kiernan contacted Birdwatch Ireland about the sighting and was informed that black swans have now started to breed in parts of  the North of the country-  with no ill effect on our own native mute swans noted to date. 

Wing-tagged Buzzard Sighting

In November, a buzzard with coloured wing-tags was spotted by Michael in the Virginia/Mullagh area. Michael reported the details of the sighting and wing-tag colours to the  Raptor Study Group. It was very interesting to discover that the bird was ringed as a chick back in June 2009 in Argaty in Scotland and is now here with us in Cavan!  Thanks to Dr. Eimear Rooney of the Raptor Officer N.I. for supplying this information.

If you want to learn more about Irish Raptors visit the BWI Irish Raptor blog here

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Good news story Birds of Prey

Lother Muschketat with Gerry Mc Connell
 Photo Heather Bothwell

Report by Heather Bothwell 

Cavan branch Birdwatch Ireland was impressed with the efforts made by Belturbet community,  to care and rehabilitate an injured buzzard.   The injured bird had been found by local  farmer,  Gerry McConnell. With the help of George Morrisey and Shelly Cole , the bird was taken to Eagles Flying centre, in Ballymote  Co. Sligo .  There Lothar Muschketat, was able to rehabilitate buzzard, over the next ten weeks.

Pupils from St Mary's Photo Heather Bothwell
On the 27th of November the bird was released back to the wild in Belturbet  and  the community and pupils from St. Mary’s National school came to see the bird up close.
Raptor expert , Lothar ,happily answered  the children’s’ questions and shared his knowledge of birds of prey.
Irish Birds of Prey need your help Birdwatch Ireland raptor appeal

Garden Bird talk by Jamie Durrant Tuesday 26th November

Report by Heather Bothwell

The wonderful world of birds outside your window.
Jamie Durrants talk on feeding winter birds.

To those who missed Jamie’s talk it is hard to transmit the energy and enthusiasm that Jamie brought to an every -day topic.  Jamie has long experience working in bird conservation and ecological surveys. He has also worked bringing the world of birds to the general public as Birdwatch Ireland membership officer.  The full house in the County Museum ,Ballyjamesduff enjoyed an informative and entertaining talk on feeding birds in winter.  Jamie’s talk was very practical and to get some handy advice on feeding birds follow the link.
For those that want to go a bit further and increase your enjoyment of garden birds why not share your information and contribute to the garden bird survey?
For those that are interested in making their patch a garden bird habitat  follow the link
And for those interested in a free garden bird pack when they support Birdwatch Ireland  visit;

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Presentation on" Feeding Garden Birds"Tuesday 26th November, Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff

photo by Michael Mc Nulty

"Feeding Garden Birds", a presentation by Jamie Durrant of Birdwatch Ireland, will take place in the Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8pm on Tuesday 26 November.

This is always a popular topic and Jamie will have lots of good advice for those interested in helping birds survive the harsh winter months and who wish to attract a variety of different bird species to their garden.

All welcome and admission will be free!

If you would like to take part in the garden bird survey click here for more information. It's a great way to learn more about your garden birds and also fun to do!

Outing to Inch Reserve on Sunday 10 November

Inch Reserve photo Margaret Fay
photo by Clare Donoghue
Black-headed gulls by Clare Donoghue

A branch outing to Inch Reserve and Blanket Nook, Co.Donegal was held on Sunday 10th November. We met up at Inch reserve at 10.30 am where we were joined by Donegal Branch BWI member Chris Ingram. The bright and frosty morning made for excellent viewing conditions and before setting out from the car park we enjoyed views of large numbers of whooper swans,greylag geese and even a few pink-footed geese feeding in the nearby fields

As we made our way to the hide blackbirds, thrushes and goldcrests were seen feeding on the large crop of berries in the hedgerows. The area surrounding the embankment held many species including grey heron, goldeneye, little grebe and several curlews. Upon reaching the hide, the good light conditions and large numbers of waders and wildfowl present made for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon during which we observed golden plover, lapwing, gadwall, ruff, coot and tufted duck.

Some of the group members Photo Margaret Fay

After a short lunch break we headed to the nearby site of Blanket Nook. Here we spotted many waders including black-tailed godwit and greenshank, as well as significant numbers of whooper swans and greylag geese. The particularly special sighting of a peregrine falcon resting on a post made for an exciting end to the outing.

A special thank you to Chris for his help on the day and to Clare, Michael and Margaret for sharing their photos.

Watching the peregrine at Blanket Nook

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Outing to Inch Reserve,Co Donegal on Sunday 10th November

whooper swan 

An outing to Donegal to visit Inch Reserve and Blanket Nook will take place on Sunday 10th November. At this time of the year large numbers of whooper swans are present, having just completed the journey from their breeding grounds in Iceland to Inch. November is one of the nicest times of the year to visit the reserve as the calling swans and geese make for a very atmospheric scene. We will also visit Blanket Nook which is another good location for viewing geese and waders.

Meet at 10.30am at the Reserve car park.This is reached by turning left at Burt Church when coming from Letterkenny. keep straight  and follow the narrow road to the reserve car park. If you wish to car share from Bailieborough or need more information please email in advance of the outing.

Warm waterproof clothing recommended. You may bring a packed lunch if you wish but there is also a hotel and filling station close by with catering facilities.

For lots more information of Inch Lough Reserve,visit the following link

To visit the BirdWatch Ireland website click here

Upcoming Event: Tuesday 26th November

"Feeding Garden Birds", a presentation by Jamie Durrant of Birdwatch Ireland, will take place in the Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8pm.

Dundalk Bay Sunday 6th October

Brent Geese by Michael Mc Nulty
A branch outing to Dundalk Bay took place on Sunday 6 October. Although it was quite an overcast day, the mild weather made for pleasant birding conditions. The group met up at midday and we began our outing with a trip to Lurgangreen to see the high-tide wader roost. Very large numbers of oystercatchers were present, and it was especially nice to observe a small flock of brent geese who had just returned from Arctic Canada to overwinter here.

While the tide was still high, we relocated south to Salterstown where we enjoyed close-up views of a mixed wader roost. Of particular note were the flocks of red brested mergansers on the water along with very large numbers of black headed gulls in the nearby fields.

Black-tailed godwit
As the tide started to recede we concluded the outing with a visit to Seabank, where the spectacle of large numbers of black tailed godwits flying overhead as the returned to feed made for a nice end to the day.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Outing to Dundalk Bay Sunday 6 October

Annagassan harbour one of the sites we will visit.

A car outing to Dundalk Bay will take place on Sunday next 6 October. 

If you wish to car share from Bailieborough meet at the Market Square at 11am. If you wish to meet up in Dundalk,please be at the car park of the Fairways Hotel at 12 noon.

The outing should last 2 -3 hours and we will visit a number of good birding locations south of Dundalk town.  Best to take a packed lunch, waterproofs and binoculars along with you. If you would like any further information about this event please call 086 8336675.

Beginners are very welcome to join us.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Upcoming Branch Events

Seabank, Dundalk 

Outing to Dundalk Bay: Sunday 6th October

The first outing of the season will be to Dundalk Bay on Sunday 6th October. Dundalk Bay is an internationally important site for waders and wildfowl, and is a popular location for our branch outings. Here we expect to see a good variety of species that have just returned from their Northern breeding grounds. This time of year is also a good time to look out for rarer species such as ruff, curlew sandpiper and whimbrel.

There will be an option to car share from Bailieborough or meet with the group in Dundalk. More details regarding meet-up points and times for this event will be posted closer to the date.

Outing to Inch Reserve, Donegal: Sunday 10th November

Whooper Swan at Inch Lough

An outing to Donegal to visit Inch Reserve and Blanket Nook will take place on Sunday 10th November. At this time of the year large numbers of whooper swans are present, having just completed the journey from their breeding grounds in Iceland to Inch. November is one of the nicest times of the year to visit the reserve as the calling swans and geese make for a  very atmospheric scene. We will also visit Blanket Nook which is another good location for viewing geese and waders.

More details on this event will be posted closer to the date.

Warm waterproof clothing and a packed lunch are  recommended for all outdoor events. All events suitable for beginners!

Garden Bird Presentation by Jamie Durrant (Birdwatch Ireland): Tuesday 26th November

"Feeding Garden Birds", a presentation by Jamie Durrant of Birdwatch Ireland, will take place in the Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8pm. 

This is always a popular topic and Jamie will have lots of good advice for those interested in helping birds survive the harsh winter months and who wish to attract a variety of different bird species to their garden.

All welcome and admission will be free!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dawn Chorus Walk Bailieborough on Sunday 19 May

Photo Michael Mc kiernan

The group met at the Castle Lake car park at 4.30am on Sunday 19th May. Thankfully it was a pleasant dry morning. Birds such as song thrush, mistle thrush and blackbird were already singing and a few bats were having a final feed before heading to roost as we set out from the car park. 

listening to a whitethroat Photo Michael Mc kiernan
Over the course of our walk around the lake the songs of many species of bird were heard including wren, robin, chaffinch, goldcrest, blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler. A whitethroat was also heard in the young conifer plantation- a new record for the forest! We were also treated to brief views of a sparrowhawk.

Castle Lake 
We stopped at the lake to view the great crested grebes and to listen to the song of a
sedge warbler. There was great excitement to see that the mute swans had hatched at least 4 new cygnets! 

Enjoying an early breakfast in the forest

We finished up the morning with tea and refreshments and an added treat for all was close-up views of a treecreeper. We watched him feed as we enjoyed our tea and treats.
Thanks to everyone who brought along refreshments on the day - much appreciated!

Click here for more information on Castle lake Woods looped walk.
Click here to visit The Birdwatch Ireland website.

We will be taking a break over the summer and events wil recommence in September.

Dawn Chorus Walk Arva Sunday 19th May

Photo by Heather Bothwell

Report By Heather.

The Cavan branch of birdwatch Ireland took the annual dawn chorus walk
 to Arva this year. This is a chance to celebrate spring and publicise birdwatch ireland. It was a mild morning after the previous days rain and there was lots of bird activity. plenty of singing thrushes, blackbirds, robins, wrens, goldcrests and warblers including whitethroat. We walked up Brankill lane and down to Garty lough. Afterwards the intrepid Arva birdwatchers gathered in the Breffni Arms for coffee , with many thanks to Eamon Gray who had not long been to bed!!!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

National Dawn Chorus Day.Events in Cavan on Sunday 19 May

Blackcap photo by Michael Mc Nulty
Listen to the song of the Blackcap and many more at a Dawn Chorus Event in May!
To celebrate National Dawn Chorus day two events will take place in Co. Cavan on Sunday 19th May.This will be a great opportunity to learn more about birdsong and enjoy an early morning walk at dawn. Follow this link to read more about the Dawn Chorus here
Walks will take place at the following locations:
Meet at the car park of veterinary surgeons, Hoffman & Kaufmann,Tyusker,Arva at 5.00am.
 Contact Heather on 087 6699681 

 Bailieborough,Castle Lake Woods.
 Meet at the Lakeshore car park, Lear entrance at 4.30am.
Directions: take the Shercock Rd out of Bailieborough. Turning left at Lakeland Daries, proceed for 2km approx and the forest entrance is on your left.

River Bird Survey

By Brian Caffrey.

We are looking for breeding records of river birds (between mid-March and mid-June) from 2004 up to the present season to help us examine links between water quality and biodiversity.

 Ireland supports a rich and diverse network of river systems. They are often not so easily accessible, making it difficult tomonitor the health of this habitat for biodiversity. However, Ireland's river are highly attractive and are well visited by tourists, anglers and other recreational users. 

 Please visit our River Birds page for further details about this group of birds. This spring/ summer, we urge you to keep your eyes peeled if you are out and about on a river or its banks. We are looking for details of your sightings of all riverine species, but especially Kingfisher, Dipper, Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail and Sand Martin. But we would also like to know about rivers where these birds were absent.
Completing it is really easy. And please complete the questionnaire even if you
saw no riverine bir

Launch of the Bird Atlas 2007 - 11

 by Brian Caffrey.

I am delighted to announce the launch of the Bird Atlas 2007-11 pre-publication book offer (please see attached).Order now at our special pre-publication price of €54 and save a third off the retail price!

Be one of the first to receive Bird Atlas 2007–11, the most important British and Irish bird book for decades. The most complete and comprehensive overview of bird distribution and change in Britain and Ireland. Over 1,300 maps describe patterns of distribution, abundance and change for nearly 300 species.

Discover the changing fortunes of the birds of Britain and Ireland, with the help of authors Dawn Balmer, Simon Gillings, Brian Caffrey, Bob Swann, Iain Downie and Rob Fuller. Have the latest scientific findings about distribution and change at your fingertips, including chapters telling the atlas story and highlighting the factors influencing our changing bird fauna... all to be revealed when the book is published in autumn 2013.

How to order:
2)      By Post: send the attached order form to: BirdWatch Ireland, Unit 20, Block D, Bullford Business Campus, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow
4)      By Phone: call us on 01 2819878

Don’t miss this great offer – order by the 31st July 2013

Presentation By Dick Coombes on 9 April in Virginia

Dick Coombes Birdwatch Ireland
A presentation by Dick Coombes took place in the Riverfront Hotel, Virginia on Tuesday 9th April at 8pm after the AGM. Dick is the Countryside Bird Survey co-ordinator with Birdwatch Ireland and has studied great-spotted woodpeckers closely since they were first recorded breeding in Ireland back in 2009. A few years prior to this they had been recorded breeding in Northern Ireland and in 2008 a juvenile bird was sighted at a bird feeder in Co. Wicklow! It was confirmed that great-spotted woodpeckers were breeding in the woodlands of Wicklow in 2009 and since then the birds have been gradually spreading along the eastern side of the country.
Are they breeding here in Cavan? To date there have been a few reported sightings of woodpeckers in the county but breeding has not yet been confirmed. We have lots of suitable habitat here. Their favourite nesting habitat is mature woodland where they can find trees with some element of rot, preferably an oak. Dick described what signs we should be looking out for:
 Between March and April we should listen out for the sound of woodpeckers drumming- a very distinctive sound that indicates a woodpecker is holding a territory. To hear an example of what a woodpecker drumming sounds like, follow this link: 

Also keep an eye out for the presence of feeding holes or evidence of nest hole excavation in mature trees.  The nest holes can be difficult to spot as they are generally located quite high-up on trees but if you keep looking up and listening who knows what you might discover! Please pass on any records of sightings to Dick Coombes at

A special word of thanks to Dick for a most enjoyable and informative presentation. It was evident that Dick has put in a lot of work over the last few years studying these birds and that although it has been demanding he has enjoyed it all very much and has a great affection for these very special birds!

Cavan Branch Committee

The following people were elected to serve on the committee for the coming year at the AGM which took place prior to the Woodpecker Presentation on Tuesday 9 April in the Riverfront Hotel, Virginia.

Chairperson Heather Bothwell, Killeshandra
Secretary     Elizabeth Mc kenna, Bailieborough
Treasurer    Sean Callaghan, Virginia.
PJ Byrne, (Vice Chairperson), Michael Mc Kiernan (Vice Secretary), Peadar Reynolds (Vice Treasurer) Tom Broe and Yvette Von Cramon.

Cavan Branch contacts details can be found on the Birdwatch Ireland Website here

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

"Are there woodpeckers in Cavan"?

Great spotted woodpecker - photo by Dick Coombes

"Are there Woodpeckers in Cavan?"
 A presentation by Dick Coombes, (Birdwatch Ireland's CBS Coordinator) will take place in The River Front Hotel, Main Street, Virginia on Tuesday 9 April at 8pm.

Dick will talk to us about the recent colonisation of Ireland by the great-spotted woodpecker. In recent years they have been discovered breeding in Wicklow and Down. Could they now be breeding in Cavan? Dick's study of these birds has been featured on the popular "Living the Wildlife"TV series. Come along to the talk and find out about the most recent updates on the spread of the great-spotted woodpecker! 

All welcome and admission is free!

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


What is BirdTrack?

Ornithological Society, that looks at migration movements and distributions of birds throughout Britain and Ireland. BirdTrack provides facilities for observers to store and manage their own personal records as well as using these to support species conservation at local, regional, national and
international scales.

Exciting Spring Arrival !

In readiness for the forthcoming flood of spring arrivals, we have an exciting new arrival of our own to announce: we've just launched a fantastic new BirdTrack Home Page! It's packed with interactive features to make BirdTrack more relevant to birdwatchers on a day-to-day basis and encourage even more people to get involved. There's never been a better time to add your records.The records submitted by BirdTrackers like you now form the core elements of the page.Explore the map to find out what has been seen locally or to visualise the relative frequency of records of any species across Britain and Ireland.Discover the latest reporting rates (the percentage of complete lists that contain each species) using the interactive graphing tool. See which members of the BirdTrack community have been most active via the ‘Top BirdTrackers’ tables… and log in to see how your own stats compare!

All the options to add and interact with your own records are now available directly from the Home page. Simply login using the button at the top left of the page to activate these options. You can stay logged in by making sure cookies are enabled on your device and ticking the ‘remember my login details’. The first time you log in to the new page, you'll be asked for permission to display your name alongside your records. Please use your forename and surname as your display name (i.e. 'Nick Moran', not 'Nick','NickM' or 'BrecksBirder'). We'll only display your name with your permission.

Happy BirdTracking.
Brian Caffrey

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Dundalk outing Sunday 3 March

Photo by Clare Donoghue

Our group met up at Dundalk Docks at 12 noon where we were joined by Joe and some Monaghan Branch members. Here we enjoyed close-up views of teal, oystercatchers,black-tailed godwit, little egret and a number of gull species. Greenshank and lapwing were also present.

Photo Steve Driver

Our next stop was Soldier’s point. We arrived shortly before high tide and watched the birds feeding before heading to roost. We were treated to views of large flocks of black-tailed godwit, bar-tailed godwit, golden plover, some dunlin and brent geese. A highlight was close-up views of a grey seal.

Photo Joe Shannon

Goldeneye Photo Brian Mc Keever

After a quick lunch break, we spent some time at Lurgangreen watching the birds flying in to roost at high tide.

Photo Clare Donoghue

The sun had just come out and it was a real pleasure to spend some time at this lovely location.  Large flocks of geese and waders were present. A hunting peregrine raised the birds on a number of occasions and we were treated to great views of the flocks in the air.

Thanks to Clare,Steve,Joe and Brian for sharing the above photos.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Sunday 3 rd March outing to Dundalk Bay

Photo by Michael Mc Nulty. 

A car outing to Dundalk Bay will take place on Sunday March 3rd. Meet at Dundalk Docks at 12 noon. If you wish to car share from Bailieborough please meet at the Market Square at 10.45am. Best to bring a packed lunch and to wrap up well. The outing should last a few hours approx but if you are making your own travel arrangements then you will have the option of leaving a little earlier if necessary. If you have not visited the area before and you are not sure of the location of the docks then please contact me by email or at 086 8336675 to arrange a meeting point in Dundalk.

The black tailed godwit pictured above in its beautiful summer plumage was photographed by branch member Michael at our outing there last March.


Presentation by Breffni Martin in Bailieborough on 21 February

A talk by Breffni Martin of the Louth branch of Birdwatch Ireland took place on Thursday last in the Business Centre, Bailieborough. Breffni spoke about the waders and wildfowl of Dundalk Bay. As well as giving us many useful wader and wildfowl ID tips he also spoke about the amazing journeys undertaken by many of these birds annually to and from their breeding grounds.  A special mention went to the bar-tailed godwit- a satellite-tagged godwit had been recorded travelling from its breeding grounds in Alaska to its wintering grounds in New Zealand in just over 8 days! (Visit this link to read this  amazing story here)
He also told us of the importance of Ireland as a wintering location for geese and wading birds including brent geese that breed in the Arctic Tundra and black-tailed godwits that breed in Iceland. We hope to see these species along with many others when we make our return trip on March 3 to Dundalk Bay. Thanks to Breffni for a very informative and enjoyable presentation.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Countryside Bird Survey Training Day Sunday 24 February in Virginia

Dick talking to the group at a recent training day in Shannon

Information on the day by Dick Coombes

Ever thought of taking part in one of our key bird surveys, the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS), but didn’t know how to go about it? Well Olivia Crowe and Dick Coombes will be conducting a training day this coming weekend in Virginia. Why not come along or maybe even bring someone else?

The details are:

  • Sunday 24th February,  Lakeside Manor Hotel, Virginia, Co Cavan  

The schedule for the day will be:

09.30 – 10.00  Arrival.
10.00 – 13.00  Illustrated talks, instruction about survey methods, ID and a chance to ask questions, with a tea/coffee break mid-morning.
13.00 Lunch (provided)
13.45 (approx) Short field trip. Should be finished by approx 15.30.

The CBS is carried out all over the country, but there are many gaps to be filled. Hopefully this training session will produce some new recruits as well as provide an opportunity for existing survey participants to get a refresher and meet other participants. We will also be showing some of the interesting results achieved by this important survey to date.

Getting ready to commence the outdoor field trip in Shannon
The afternoon field trip will provide easy hands-on experience with the forms and survey methods. The format will be very informal and there will be plenty of time to ask questions.

 Participants enjoying the outdoor fieldtrip at Shannon event 

 To help us plan for numbers etc, please register your interest at: or  just get in touch with us directly ( or tel 01-2812408.

Friday, 1 February 2013

"Waders and Wildfowl" Talk in Bailieborough Thursday 21 February

Teal at Navvy Bank, Dundalk.
A Presentation on "Waders and Wildfowl" by Breffni Martin (BWI, Louth Branch Chairperson) will take place on Thursday 21st February in the Business Centre, Shercock Rd, Bailieborough at 8pm.
Many species of water-birds spend the winter months on the Co.Cavan lakes and this is an opportunity to learn more about them and to improve your ID Skills.
Breffni is well known to Cavan branch members and has joined us on many occasions on our branch outings to Dundalk Bay, and we are very pleased to have him come and talk to the local branch.
This talk will be suitable for beginners and we will follow up the talk with an outing to Dundalk Bay on Sunday 3rd March, when we hope to see many of the species that Breffni will talk to us about.
All welcome and admission is free!

Nest Boxes :
Pj and Andrew hard at work!

If you are interested in putting up a nest box a small number will be for sale on the night.The boxes were made and donated to the branch by committee member PJ Byrne. He has also on behalf of the branch placed a number of nest-boxes in a local forest.Thanks also to Andrew for helping out with the job. ______________________________
Countryside Bird Survey training day

A Countryside Bird Survey training day will take place in The Lakeside Manor Hotel, Virginia on Sunday 24 February. If you wish to take part in the training day Please email Birdwatch Ireland,CBS Coordinator Dick Coombes at  Visit the following link to learn more about this survey here:

Upcoming Events:.

Sunday 3 March - Outing to Dundalk Bay.Details on this event will be posted soon.

Tuesday 9 April  -   " Are there Woodpeckers in Cavan ?"  A presentation by Dick Coombes, (Birdwatch Ireland, Countryside Bird Survey Co-ordinator.) in the River Front Hotel, Virginia at 8pm. Branch AGM prior to the talk at 7PM.

Sunday 19 May National Dawn Chorus day. Details of walks will follow closer to the date

Friday, 18 January 2013

Outing – Sunday 13th January – Lough Gowna & Glen Lough Nature Reserve, Edgeworthstown.

A special word of thanks to Tom Murtagh for guiding the outing to Gowna and Glen lough and to Clare Driver and Michael Mc Kiernan for providing the lovely photos.

A report by Tom on the outing follows:

Photo by Clare Driver - mute swans
As with our winter 2011 visit to Lough Gowna, the weather conditions on Sunday last (13th January) were anything but conducive to an enjoyable days birding. Despite temperatures managing only a few degrees above freezing and persistent drizzle throughout the morning, those who braved the elements had an interesting day’s birding around Lough Gowna and nearby Glen Lough Nature Reserve at Edgeworthstown (Co. Longford).

Swam Lake Gowna

Our first stop was at Swan Lake, near Lough Gowna village,in south Co. Cavan, where a sizeable flock of Mallard (c.150—200) were observed.  Small numbers of Teal and Wigeon were also present, as was a solitary Shoveler and a few Great Crested Grebes.

Photo by Clare Driver - Whooper Swans at Church Lake
The group’s next stop was Church Lake, an inlet of Lough Gowna, near the village, with good access and viewing via a lane way from the Aughnacliffe Road. It was here that our “birds of the day” were spotted – a pair of Great Northern Divers. These birds are winter visitors to Ireland from northern climates - probably Iceland, Greenland or possibly Canada. The main wintering populations of Great Northern Divers in Ireland are to be found in coastal waters from Donegal to Cork. They are rarely observed on inland lakes.  On Church Lake, good views were had of the divers, with the mist and drizzle abating somewhat as the morning wore on. Our sighting of these birds was a real bonus and reward for those who ventured out in very trying weather conditions.

Photo by Clare Driver - Distant view of the great northern divers
 Also of note at Church Lake, was a flock of Whooper Swans, approx. 70 birds, with a small number of Mute Swans in the mix, all grazing in fields overlooking the lake. A small party of Lapwing and a pair of Goldeneye made up the species tally for this site.
Photo by Michael Mc Kiernan - Some of the group at church lake 
Our travels next took us along the western shore of Lough Gowna towards Erne Head and Dring, and along the way further small flocks of Goldeneye and Wigeon were spotted, also some Cormorants and a Kestrel at Dernaferst.

In the late afternoon, the group made the short road trip to visit Glen Lough Nature Reserve on the Longford/Westmeath border, near Edgeworthstown in Co Longford. At this stage, although visibility was still poor with lingering mist, the drizzle had cleared  and the temperature had recovered a few degrees. Glen Lough is a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Reserve and is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive. Its importance is, in the main, as a wintering wildfowl habitat. On our visit, Whooper and Mute Swan were noted, also Mallard, Little Grebe, Grey Heron and Water Rail (heard). Whooper Swan numbers here on the day were small, but regularly recorded numbers reach 100+ at this site. Also, a variety of duck species recorded here regularly (Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck) were absent on the day.The scarcity of ducks however was somewhat compensated for by a good showing of raptors, with several Buzzard, a Sparrow Hawk and a Kestrel observed. We were also treated to good views of a pair of Stonechats in the nearby reed beds.

Photo by Clare Driver - stonechat at Glen Lough Nature Reserve
The viewing experience at Glen Lough Reserve is enhanced by the availability of a purpose build hide, provided by the NPWS, which offered a welcome shelter from the chilly January air for our intrepid birders ! There was a general consensus that this site is well worth a return visit in more favourable weather conditions!