Saturday, 20 December 2014

January outing to West Cavan Lakes

Whooper Swans by Clare Donoghue

 The first branch outing of the New Year will take place on Sunday 11th January. We will meet up at 10am at Drumlane Abbey car park, Milltown. At Miltown lake, we hope to see a selection of waterbirds including some whooper swans. We will also carry out  I-WeBS (Irish Wetland Bird Survey) counts on Milltown Lake and other lakes in the area.

Event organiser Heather Bothwell.

It is recommended to wear warm waterproof clothing and appropriate footwear. Beginners and non-members are very welcome to attend all events!

For information on The Irish Wetland Bird Survey click here

For information on the  International Swan Census 2015  click  here

This event takes place on the weekend of 17th and 18th January. Contact the Birdwatch Ireland office at if you would like to help out with the survey.

Happy Christmas to all and Best Wishes for 2015!  

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here

Sunday, 23 November 2014

November outing to Bull Island, Dublin

 Bull Island by Freddy Mc Gavin

On 9th November the group had a very pleasant outing to the Bull Island, Dublin. Those car-sharing met up in Bailieborough at 9am and arrived at the Bull Island causeway at 11am. The tide was rising which allowed for close up views of birds such as brent geese,pintail,shoveler and also a variety of waders.

Brent geese by Tom Mc Namara

  pintail by Tom Mc Namara
 The photographers in the group were delighted to have the opportunity to photograph the birds at close range.

redshank by Michael Mc Nulty

 teal by Michael Mc Nulty

 turnstone by Michael Mc Nulty

grey heron by Tom Mc Namara

 brent geese by Michael Mc Nulty
 As we were watching the birds on the causeway a number of local birders stopped to chat and to pass on lots of interesting birding information to us. Other birds of interest here were linnet,reed bunting,meadow pipit and stonechat. 

meadow pipit by Tom Mc Namara

 Enjoying watching the roosting waders

After a late lunch break we decided to head down the road to the Bull Wall. This was a lovely location and lots of people,who were out walking and enjoying the afternoon sunshine stopped to chat to us about the birds we were watching, Here we enjoyed watching the large flocks of roosting dunlin and sanderling.

sanderling and dunlin by Michael Mc Nulty

After a short stop for coffee we decided to fit in a quick visit to Broadmeadows before heading for home. It was interesting to see how tame the large flock of mute swans was here.

 mute swan cygnet by Tom Mc Namara

 Mute swans at Broadweadows

 View of Dublin Bay by Freddy Mc Gavin
The highlight for me on the day was the close up views of snipe and pintail and the sound of the brent geese on the Bull Causeway.

 This was the group’s first visit to sites in the Dublin area and information passed on to us by local birders was very welcome! We were delighted when Branch member and Dublin native Andrew Carlton agreed to organise a trip to the Dublin area. He did a great job of planning, travel and itinerary and on behalf of the Branch I would like to say a big thank you to Andrew!

Bull Island is a fantastic site to watch birds and we were more that impressed with the variety of birds there! 

For more information on the Bull Island Birds click here.

Thanks to Tom,Michael and Freddy for supplying me with the lovely photos to share on the Blog.


Don't forget to start feeding the garden birds now that the weather has got colder! Birdwatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey starts on 1st December.Click here for information on the survey and for lots of information on garden birds.  

Presentation on Irish Raptors by John Lusby

On Thursday 20th November John Lusby of Birdwatch Ireland gave a very interesting and entertaining presentation on Irish Raptors in Cavan County Museum.  John spoke to us about the fieldwork and conservation work being carried out in order to monitor long eared owl, kestrel and Barn owl. Lots of information on this conservation work can be found on the Irish Raptor Blog here, and also on the Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project Blog here.

John had some lovely photos and video clips to show us of owl chicks on the nest and also had footage of the efforts involved in trying to monitor and find nest sites for merlin! Although the work John does can be challenging and varied, it was clear to see form the presentation that he is very enthusiastic about his work as Raptor Conservation Officer. A special work of thanks to John on behalf of the Branch for coming to talk to us, and we hope he can make a return visit sometime.

Click here for Anglo Celt report on John's views on what can be done to lessen the impact of poisons on birds of prey.

To visit the Birdwatch Ireland website please click here.

Information on Branch events in January will be posted next month.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Raptor Presentation by John Lusby on 20th November in Cavan County Museum.


                                              Kestral Chicks. Photo by John Lusby
"All About Raptors" A Presentation by John Lusby, will take place in The Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8:00pm on Thursday 20th November.

 John is Birdwatch Ireland's Raptor Conservation Officer. He is a bird of prey expert and features regularly on the Mooney Goes Wild Show on RTE. He holds a ringing and filming licence for raptors and coordinates several conservation projects involving Barn Owl, Kestral, Long eared owl and Merlin.

 His last talk to the Branch back in 2012 in Bailieborough on his conservation work with Barn Owls was a great success and we are delighted to welcome him back to the County,this time to Ballyjamesduff.

 This event is hosted in conjunction with Cavan County Museum. All are welcome to attend and admission is free!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Outing to The Bull Island,Dublin on Sunday 9th November

Brent geese at Bull Island

An outing to The Bull Island Nature Reserve and other North Dublin Birding sites will take place on Sunday next 9th November.  To Car share meet at the Market Square, Bailieborough at 9am sharp. For those car sharing a contribution towards petrol costs would be appreciated.

  If you wish to travel independently please contact Andrew  on 085 7137983 prior to the event for details of meet up times and locations in Dublin.

The event should last 3/4 hours. Event leaders Andrew Carlton and PJ Byrne. It is recommended to wear warm waterproof clothing and to bring along a packed lunch.

Click here to visit the Dublin Bay Birding Blog
Click here for a site map of Bull Island Nature Reserve.

Upcoming Event on Thursday 20 November: 

A presentation entitled "All about Raptors" by Birdwatch Ireland’s Raptor Conservation Officer John Lusby will take place in   Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8:00pm.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Dundalk Bay Sunday 12th October

Joint Cavan and Monaghan Branch Outing.

 Dundalk Docks photo Heather Bothwell

Report by Heather Bothwell.

We met at 11 am at the docks, Dundalk . The tide was low at this time and birds were still feeding as the tide rose. Flocks of golden plover, lapwing, redshank,  greenshank, black-tailed godwit., curlew, dunlin, cormorant, teal and mallard , could be seen in their full glory,  as the light could not have been better and the water as still as a mill pond.

Teal photo by Clare Donoghue

Lapwing photo Clare Donoghue

Black-tailed godwit photo Clare Donoghue

Redshank Photo Clare Donoghue

Golden plover flock photo Clare Donoghue

 On leaving the Docks we moved on to inspect the new hide at Lurgangreen.

 The hide at Lurgangreen by Heather Bothwell

 As we sunbathed !!!! eating our lunch, the tide came in . This moved the birds away from the hide, so at high tide few birds were to be seen. Despite this lack of numbers we did get views of the newly arrived Brent geese,  little egret, oystercatchers and a kingfisher put in an appearance in front of the hide .  The high-light of the day was when a female Merlin came in from behind the hide and landed on the other side of the Fane river.   We all delighted in excellent views of a very accommodating  little falcon . The height  provided by the new hide  helped this. Thank you  Louth, Birdwatch 
Ireland, we wish you  many long years in the comfort of the hide. 

Click here to visit the Louth Birds Blog

Upcoming events in November.

Sunday 9 November: Outing to the Bull Island Nature Reserve and Rogerstown Estuary, Dublin. (More details on the blog closer to the date).

 Thursday 20 November: A presentation entitled "All about Raptors" by Birdwatch Ireland’s Raptor Conservation Officer John Lusby will take place in   Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8:00pm.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Dundalk Bay Outing Sunday 12th October

little egret at Dundalk Docks
An outing to Dundalk Bay will take place this coming Sunday 12th of October
Meet at Dundalk Docks at 11am. If you wish you can park at Lidl, which is situated across the road from the docks. The group will car pool from here and visit a number of sites in the Dundalk area. Of special interest, will be a visit to the new bird hide at Lurgangreen.
The event should last a couple of hours. Bring along a packed lunch and it's recommended to wear warm waterproof clothing.Beginners very welcome!

The event will be lead by Heather Bothwell. Contact number of the day if needed is 087 669 9681,

 To visit the Louth Bird Blog for updates on sightings,click here

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Upcoming Branch Events

Tuesday 19th August

The Branch will have a stand at the family community show day at Esker Lodge Nursing Home, Cathedral Road,Cavan from 1.30pm to 5.30pm. 

 Sunday 12th October - Outing to Dundalk Bay

Sunday 9th November - Outing to The Bull Island, Nature Reserve and Rogerstown Estuary, Dublin.
Thursday 20th November - A presentation " All about Raptors" by John Lusby, Birdwatch Ireland Raptor Conservation Officer, will take place in the Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff at 8pm.

More information re events will be posted closer to the date.
Beginners and new members very welcome!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Outing to Loughanleagh on 12 June

Information board with maps at the picnic site

An evening walk around Loughanleagh Mountain took place on Thursday 12th June, led by committee member and local walking guide P.J. Byrne. The walk lasted for approximately one and a half hours, commencing from the parking area and finishing up at the Cairn on the mountain top.

 We stopped along the way to listen to birdsong and enjoy the lovely views of the surrounding countryside.


 From the mountain top we enjoyed clear views of the Co. Louth coastline and the Mourne mountains.

 meadow pipet

  We also spotted some meadow pipits displaying and it appears that this species, which is a species of conservation concern, is successfully breeding in the area. However, it was disappointing to find no evidence of breeding skylark: a species that has bred here in the recent past.
Loughanleagh mountain is a lovely location for a walk at any time of year and there is the possibility of seeing snow bunting while walking in the area at migration time or over the winter months.

On our return to Bailieborough we carried out a swift survey to help us locate breeding sites for this species and we hope to erect some nest boxes in the area for the next breeding season.

To read more about the Swift Conservation project click here

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here

We will be taking a break over the summer and details of Autumn events will be posted in September.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Summer evening walk on Loughanleagh

View of the surrounding countryside from LoughanLeagh

A walk will take place on Loughanleagh Mountain on Thursday 12 June.  This walk will be led by branch committee member PJ Byrne. Meet at the Market Square, Bailieborough at 7.30pm.
Waterproofs and walking boots recommended. This nature walk will last for 1 and a half hours approx.

All welcome! Children under 14 to be accompanied by an adult.

Ireland's Swifts need your help

Appeal for sightings - Brian Caffrey , Birdwatch Ireland.

The incredible sound of a party of screaming Swifts speeding overhead is one of the most iconic sounds of an Irish summer. However, the future of the Swift is under threat and there is growing concern for their populations both here in Ireland and across Europe.

This summer, thanks to funding from 
The Heritage Council and Dublin City Council, BirdWatch Ireland is undertaking a number of Swift surveys, and we need your help! To take part, simply let us know where you see Swifts and where their nest sites are.

Click to enter your Swift sightings or to get information about our upcoming Swift events

To learn more about Swifts click here

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dawn and Dusk Chorus Events

 Dawn Chorus Walk in Bailieborough.

We met up at 4.30am at the car park of the castle-lake woods for our annual dawn chorus event on Sunday 18th May.  It was still dark, blustery and threatening to rain as we set out on our walk. We had just left the car park when the first bird of the dawn chorus began to sing- a song thrush! Blackbirds soon joined in, followed be robins and then wrens.

 As we proceeded on our walk and it started to brighten up the song thrushes and blackbirds became less vocal and we were able to tune in to the songs of chaffinches, goldcrests, and the summer visitors that come to breed in the forest: willow warblers, chiffchaffs and blackcaps.

 Before finishing up, we stopped at the lake to view the great crested grebes, moorhens and mute swans. The resident female mute swan remained on her nest, but we suspected that the chicks may have been in the process of hatching. She looked to be very busy and the male was nearby paying close attention! At the lakeshore we also enjoyed the song of the sedge warblers, another species that migrates here from Africa to breed. 

 We finished the event with a cup of tea and some refreshments at the car park area and were all very glad that the rain just about managed to hold off until we were finishing up!
Thanks to everyone who brought along refreshments to share. It was much appreciated!

All above photos taken by Michael Mc Kiernan.

Dusk Chorus Walk In Killeshandra

photo Heather Bothwell
 Looking for tree creepers on the giant sequoia castle Hamilton

Report by Heather Bothwell
A Dusk Chorus Walk concentrating on birdsong took place in Killeshandra on Sunday 27th April. This was a short walk highlight of which was grasshopper warblers. We retreated after an hour before the midges got too hungry.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dusk and Dawn Chorus Events

Dusk Chorus walk in Killeshandra.

 A Dusk Chorus walk will take place on Sunday 27th April, starting out from the Green Lake car park,Cavan Road, Killeshandra at 7.30pm. 

 Just like at dawn,at dusk there is generally an upsurge in birdsong and it's a nice time of the evening to enjoy a walk.  This event will  last approximately one hour.

 Event organizer Heather Bothwell-

 National Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 18th May

To celebrate National Dawn Chorus day two events will be held in Co.Cavan on Sunday 18th May National Dawn Chorus Day.These events will provide a great opportunity to learn about birdsong while enjoying an early morning walk. Come along and join a walk at one of the following locations:

Killeshandra: Meet at Green Lake Car Park,Cavan Rd,Killeshandra.

 Event organizer,Heather Bothwell -

Bailieborough: Meet at the Castle Lake Forest, lakeshore car park,Lear entrance.

Event organizer Elizabeth Mc Kenna -

Both walks will commence at 4.30am. At this time (just before dawn) one gets to experience birdsong at its best in the quiet and stillness of the early morning. It provides an opportunity to hear the chorus build from just a lone thrush or blackbird to a full chorus of all the birds in the forest! The walks will last about an hour and we recommend wearing warm clothes and bringing along a snack and hot drink to enjoy afterwards.