We met up at the Castle Lake forest lakeshore car park on Sunday 17 May at 4.30am for our Dawn Chorus walk. As we gathered in the car park to set off on our walk around the lake, we had the pleasure of listening to the beautiful songs of the blackbird and song thrush who were already in full song by 4.30am!
There were still a few bats on the wing as we set off, and it was not long before we started to also hear the song of the robin and wren. As it brightened up, we were able to observe nesting great crested grebes,moorhen, mallards and mute swans on the lake. No sign of any cygnets just yet but hopefully they should hatch any day now! Further on, we stopped to listen to a variety of bird song including goldcrest, chaffinch, willow warbler, blackcap and chiffchaff. It was a lovely surprise for us all when we encountered a red squirrel during the course of our walk as this species is on the list of endangered species for Ireland!
A special thanks to PJ Byrne for adding an additional interesting route to our walk this year. We finished up with a nice cup of tea and a chat in the car park before heading home. Thanks to all for bringing along refreshments to share.
Click here for more information on Castle Lake Forest. It's a lovely place to visit at any time of year. Other interesting birds that can be seen in the forest include buzzard, Jay, Dipper, Kingfisher and in summer whitethroat and sedge warbler.
report and photos Elizabeth Mc Kenna
4.30 a.m. saw a slightly smaller group of birdwatchers (4 to be exact!) congregate at Town lake in Killeshandra. Bats swooped overhead and 2 herons flew to shore to investigate as we started off along the lake. The earliest singers were the robin, song thrush and blackbird, joined later by a whole host of birds; willow warbler, wren, blackcap, wood pigeon, chaffinch, goldcrest, chiffchaff, moorhen, sedge warbler, grey wagtail, collared dove, swallow, starling, coal tit, treecreeper, blue tit and great tit. The woods varies from native trees to coniferous plantation and one of our group remarked on the noticeable difference in levels of birdsong leaving the former and walking through the latter.
The slightly less musical tones of the jackdaw was dominant as daylight brought us from our loop through Derrygid woods back to the lake. Things were busy on the water with a flock of juvenile mute swans, some great crested grebes, a black-backed gull, an unidentified duck in the distance with a brood of ducklings as well as a Canada goose. Town lake has numerous colourful birdboxes built by local Cub Scouts which brighten up the trees!
Garden warblers have been sighted in these woods in previous years, these are a scarce summer visitor so a trip to Killeshandra might be rewarding! birdwatch/GardenWarbler