Friday, 16 January 2015

Outing to West Cavan on 11th January

Lough Atain by Heather Bothwell

Citizen Science
Cavan Branch Birdwatch Ireland made a start on this year’s Irish wetland bird survey last weekend.This nationwide effort of citizen science happens every year.  The aim is to find and count the waders, wildfowl, gulls and other wetland specialists that are visiting Ireland. In addition this year a special effort is being made to find and count the whooper swans. 

 Map of the Lough Oughter Complex

   We meet up at Drumlane Abbey near Milltown, Belturbet, (see map), and started to count what we could see. Drumbrick lake is a wildfowl sanctuary so shooting is prohibited. The field behind the Abbey was being grazed by a flock of over 100 Canada geese. These feral birds are the descendants of birds escaped from wildfowl collections. The population appears to be increasing and could be regarded as an invasive species. See the following link for Canada goose information

Where are the birds?

 We split up into two groups and headed out to other sites. The Lough Oughter complex is a confusing flooded landscape of ribbed moraines and drumlins.  It takes time to find a route round to each lake and then find the birds. The birds move about depending on food supply, wind direction and shelter and human disturbance.

 Whooper Swans by Jonathan Shackleton
  However we managed to find tufted ducks, goldeneye, mallard, whooper swans, widgeon, teal, cormorants and great crested grebes. We also managed to pick up a buzzard and a sparrow hawk. I found it interesting to see how I constantly undercounted flocks compared to others in my group! I may be more careful with my counts!

Report on event by Heather Bothwell,Branch Chairperson.
 Upcoming Events

 For information on the  International Swan Census 2015 which takes place this weekend 17th and 18th January click here

whooper swans by Jonathan Shackleton

To report any sightings of Whooper Swans this weekend,contact the Birdwatch Ireland office at or a member of the local Branch.
For Branch contact details click here 

February - Sunday 22th outing to Dundalk Bay. More information on this event will be posted soon.

March - Thursday 19th . presentation by Micheal Casey "Dwindling Irish Swifts - what can we do ?" Cavan County Museum at 8pm. AGM prior to presentation at 7pm sharp.
 April  - Outing to Dowra, West Cavan. (Date to be confirmed)
May - Dawn chorus walks will take place in Bailieborough and Killeshandra

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