Thursday, 29 December 2016

Drumlane Abbey and IWeBs

Hoping you are all well and enjoying the Christmas holidays!

The first branch outing of the New Year will take place on Sunday 8th 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.

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

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Trip to Shannon Callows

Cavan Birdwatch are visiting the Shannon Callows on Sunday 11th December.
These lands along the shores of the  River Shannon are of international importance for wintering waders. Meet at Supervalu, Banagher, Co. Offaly at 11 a.m or contact 087 7735487 or to discuss travel arrangements.

I am attaching a few links about the callows so you can have an idea of what to expect while there.

If you are interested in going, it would be useful if i could get an idea of numbers so that car-pooling could be arranged if needed.  feel free to contact me either through this email address or phone 087 7735487.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Dundalk docks

The branch outing to Dundalk was held on a crispy midday meet at the docks. It was about mid tide but a good number of waders were feeding away on the mud flats. This area is great for close up views of teal which are there in abundance. Other species included redshank, greenshank, bar tailed and black tailed godwits, grey heron, cormorant, grey plover, curlew, lapwing, mallard, shelduck and even mute swans. A seal pup popped up every now and then.
We went up river to the other side of the bridge where the prize was seven snipe feeding away along with gulls galore at various stages in their maturity. A challenge for even experienced birdwatchers !!.There was definitely black headed gulls and common gulls. The little egret and ruff added to the list.
Out at Giles Quay the red breasted mergansers, great northern diver, common scoter, guillemot and a razorbill were good sightings on a nice calm sea.On the shore a small flock of ringed plover with some sanderling and dunlin kept moving about. The turnstones were busy and well camouflaged. There were linnets in the nearby fields and the starling was also enjoying a bath. Lots of brent geese and other birds were on the move.
As the tide was reaching its peak we went to Lurgangreen. The number of birds here were extraordinary, I would not envy anyone trying to count them. They included oystercatchers, brent geese, greylag geese, godwits, lapwing and golden plover. Some shelduck,wigeon and a few goldeneye. A buzzard kept an eye on things and a hunting peregrine resulted in great numbers of birds on the wing. Watching the flocks twist and turn in the evening sunset was spectacular.
While the glossy ibis and long billed dowitcher were not around, overall a very enjoyable day was had by all.A special thanks to our very knowledgeable guide for the day – Elizabeth. Without her a few species would have went undetected.

Michael McKiernan

photos: Elizabeth Mc Kenna

Grey heron and little egret




Dundalk docks

Sanderling and ringed plover at Gyles Quay

Dundalk docks

Sunset at Gyles quay

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

November outing

 Dear birdwatcher,

Our November outing will take place this Sunday at Dundalk docks.
Meet at the Spirit Store at 12 noon. 
You can park in the Lidl car park just across the road.
For those wishing to car share, meet at the library in Bailieborough at 11 a.m.
Bring warm clothes (it's going to be clear and cold I think!) and a packed lunch. 
If you have not attended an outing before, you are very welcome to come along and try it out!
Here is a map of the location of meeting point-


For anyone who would like to attend, P.J's month's mind will be this Saturday at 7 p.m.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Glen Lough Reserve

Last Sunday we travelled to Glen Lough Reserve in Edgeworthstown.
The weather was inclement to say the least but we were able to shelter in a very nice hide situated right on the edge of the lake. 
Ducks were the dominant species of the day with mallard, widgeon, teal and gadwall sighted along with waterrail, moorhen, herons, mute swans and a few predatory buzzards. 
A copybook in the hide lists sightings and happily enough there are lots of other birds to spot when the conditions are more favourable.
Very nice displays located around the reserve and hide to show what flora and fauna to expect to see.
The reserve can be slightly tricky to find; I have a detailed list of directions I can mail to anyone interested.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Glen Lough Reserve

Our October event is as follows:

Glen lake Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Sunday 16th October.
Meet in Londis carpark, Edgeworthstown at 11 a.m

Also, attached a link to Longford tourism detailing what you might expect to see while there.

Bring a packed lunch and suitable outdoor gear; sturdy boots/wellies are advised.
Feel free to contact me if you have any queries. (087) 7735487

Also feel free to invite friends along or advertise locally!

Facebook: Cavan-birdwatching

Monday, 19 September 2016

Sligo outing

We visited our friends in Sligo yesterday for some great birdwatching. There is quite a long list of sightings so I'll get around to compiling that shortly hopefully. Suffice to say there are numerous corners tucked down in my trusty guidebook!
A sincere thank you to Michael Bell and all in the Sligo branch for a lovely day. (and we'll get to see the All-Ireland 2nd time round!)

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Outing to Sligo

Next Sunday (18th Sept) we will travel to Sligo to meet up with their Birdwatch branch and do some birdwatching along the coast. Fingers crossed for good weather and Mayo!
Meeting at Cartron carpark at 11 a.m.

Contact if you have any queries.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Dawn Chorus and cake!

We had a lovely morning for the Dawn Chorus walk this year. It was lovely to be in the forest listening to birdsong in the early hours! This year was the 10th anniversary of our walk in the Castle Lake Forest, Bailieborough. Thanks to everyone who brought along refreshments and to PJ for the nice cake! (Photo - Castle Lake as dawn was breaking)
Thanks also go to Olive Steenson for photography.

Olive Steenson

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Cathaoirleach Awards

Congratulations to Heather on her nomination in the Community section of the Cavan County Council Cathaoirleach Awards. 
The Awards Scheme celebrates the work of volunteers who make a difference to their communities because of their hard work, dedication and vision.

Monday, 23 May 2016


"This starling in my garden has his best Sunday suit on"
Thanks to PJ for sending this photo

Saturday, 7 May 2016

AGM and committee for the coming year

Our AGM was held recently in Bailieborough, when the committee and some outings were decided upon.
The committee for the upcoming year was appointed:

Chair:         P.J Byrne                                  vice chair:         Peadar Reynolds
Secretary: Ashley Wynne                             vice secretary:  Michael Mc Kiernan
Treasurer: Séan Callaghan                           vice treasurer:   Heather Bothwell

General committee: Elizabeth Mc Kenna, Andrew Carleton.

This followed by a very interesting talk by Olivia Crowe regarding her involvement in research of the Greenland White-fronted Goose.
Keep an eye on this blog and on Facebook (Cavan birdwatching) for events.
Mail to join our mailing list.

Many thanks to Peadar and Lee for the lovely facility of the Bailieborough Business Centre.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Dawn Chorus 2016

Cavan branch Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 15th May
This event will provide a great opportunity to learn about birdsong while enjoying an early morning walk. Come along and bring a friend!

Bailieborough: Meet at the Castle Lake Forest, lakeshore car park, 04.30

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.

Contact Elizabeth 086 8336675 or for more information.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dusk Chorus


Cavan Walking Festival – Lakeland Geopark Evening Walk
02 May 2016 @ 7:00pm - Town Lake Car Park, Killeshandra, Co Cavan
Welcome the summer season with an evening walk with local Geopark Guide Heather Bothwell.  
Identify birds and birdsong at evening chorus.  
Please wear sturdy footwear and wear warm waterproof clothing.  
For more information please contact +353 (0) 49 9526121.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Upcoming event

Our AGM will be held on Thursday 21st April in the Bailieborough Business Centre.

The meeting will commence at 7 p.m and will be followed by a talk at 8 p.m  by Olivia Crowe from Birdwatch Ireland;

‘Tracking the fortunes of our Greenland White-fronted Goose’

The iconic "wild geese" of the bogs and wild places of Ireland, including Co. Cavan.

Modern Ireland has an international responsibility as the primary wintering site of these shy and reclusive  long-distance migrants from the high arctic.

(photo John Carey)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Brian Caffrey talk

    (photo: Daniel Downey)

Brian Caffrey from Birdwatch Ireland presented a very interesting and well-attended talk regarding the birds of the towns and villages of county Cavan in the Johnston library recently.
He spoke of how urban areas contained important habitats such as parks, rivers and buildings for several bird species.
Swifts, dippers and grey wagtails are all likely to be found in populated areas but have suffered population decline due to several factors; climate change and building renovation being two.
In Northern Ireland have championed the cause of these birds, giving lots of information regarding how to attract them, build nest boxes and lots of links, videos and things swift-related.
Western Wall, Jerusalem

Maiden Tower, Baku      

Brian gave many interesting examples of the popularity of swifts worldwide, These photos have been taken from this dedicated swift blog:

Barn owls are almost unheard of in Cavan; Birdwatch Ireland has only a record of 2 pairs in the whole county. Their population is being decimated by the misuse of rodenticides.  Find out more about responsible rodenticide use at this

Nestboxes close to or over water will be useful to our dipper and grey wagtail populations; trials have shown that they are readily using boxes under bridges, provided they are above flood levels.
(permisson must be obtained before putting boxes up on bridges).

Here is an article about success with dipper nestboxes. 

Brian asked that any owl sightings be submitted to John Lusby (Birdwatch Ireland)
and that sightings of swifts, dippers and grey wagtails be submitted on Birdtrack.

A previous talk on swifts by Michael Casey is linked here   cavanbranch.blogspot/swifts

Monday, 22 February 2016

Birds of County Cavan

Brian Caffrey from Birdwatch Ireland will be presenting a talk on the birds of town and village habitats.
Join us for an informative evening of birds, nest boxes and wildlife.
This is the ideal opportunity to learn more about the bird species found in your local community with practical tips, advice and guidance on how to better protect them. In particular, we will focus on nest box schemes for threatened species such as Swift, Dipper and Barn Owl and innovative ways to create new bird habitats.
Johnston Library, Farnham St. Cavan 
Thursday 10th March
7.00 - 8.30 all are welcome!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

An apple a day....

Thanks to P.J Byrne for this lovely photo of a female blackbird in his garden.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Dundalk outing

Our outing to Dundalk Bay on Sunday February 14th- 'Valentine's Day' began with a bright sunny start which continued for the duration of our trip.
First stop was Dundalk Docks where a wide variety of Ducks and Waders where on display. These included Teal, Common Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank. Across the motorway in the local park we viewed some less conspicuous types like Rough and Snipe.
As we continued on our journey we stopped at Navy bank and Blackrock were we watched Shellduck, Merganser and Brent geese take to the sea.
After a short 'Coffeee Break' we proceeded to the embankment along Lurgangreen where we saw some marvellous sights of Roosting Oystercatcher, Goldeneye, Pintail and large flocks of Waders and Geese as they broke the skyline.
The day turned out to be a cold one but lighting conditions were excellent for the accompanying photographers.
By the time we started homeward bound we had spent a most enjoyable day in Dundalk with some wonderful sights and a large variety of birds spotted.
Many thanks to all those who attended.

Report by Freddy McGavin.

photos from Dundalk
Clare took some amazing photos there.
Follow the link to see the great variety of birds they saw.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

New nest boxes

Replacement of nest boxes in the forest.
After last year's inspection it was agreed to replace the nest boxes this year, as they had been up for some time.
After a period of time we had all boxes replaced, with the good news that all the boxes were used for nesting last year.
Finally I would like to thank Andrew Carlton for helping me both to make and put up the nest boxes.(P.J Byrne)

Monday, 8 February 2016

Dundalk bay outing

On Sunday 14th February, the Cavan branch will be visitng Dundalk bay.
It is a very popular spot and is one of the most important sites in Ireland for migratory coastal birds.
Bring warm clothing and a lunch.
Meeting at the docks at 10.30 a.m.
You can park at Lidl and cross the road to the docks from there.
Anyone wishing to carpool can meet at Bailieborough.

Monday, 11 January 2016

The first branch outing of the New Year will take place on Sunday 24th 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.

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

To become a member of Birdwatch Ireland click here