Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Outing to Dundalk Bay on Sunday 18th November

Lapwing at Dundalk Docks  (Liz Mc Kenna)

A Branch outing  to Dundalk Bay will take place on Sunday next 18th November. 

This is a very important wintering location for many waterbird species.

The outing will last for about 2 hours.

This event is suitable for beginners and anyone with an interest in bird photography.

 Meet at the Spirit Store,Dundalk Docks at 11am. 

Follow the link below for directions or contact Michael on number below.

It is recommended to wear warm waterproof clothing and footwear.

Contact on the day Michael Mc Kiernan 086 8854989 (Branch Chairperson)

Sunday, 17 June 2018


Cavan Birdwatch are delighted to be writing an article each month for the Anglo Celt; our local paper. We will post the articles here after they have been published.  

The swift is a summer migrant that breeds throughout Europe and much of Asia and winters in southern Africa. It arrives in Ireland in early May and departs in early August. Swifts can be seen in many of the towns and villages in Cavan. Its shape is easily recognized by its scythe- like wings and dark brown colour and short, notched tail. It is most common in towns and villages where it uses cracks, holes, or cavities in old buildings for nesting.  They can often be heard screaming in the evening high in the sky. They spend most of their life flying – they eat, sleep and mate while flying and only stop to nest and rear young. Their tiny legs and feet are purely designed for clinging to upright stone or rock. Flying insects are their main food. When feeding young, the adult collects insects and stores them in a pouch in the mouth to take back to the nest site. This allows them to gather food far away from the nest. They lay two or three eggs and can fledge in five to eight weeks. The nest site is normally clean compared to house martins or swallows.  The chicks’ feces is contained in a “fecal sac” which is carried away by the parent thereby keeping the nest clean. Once they leave the nest they will stay on the wing for possibly two years before they breed. They can live for over 20 years.

Unfortunately their numbers have declined in recent years possibly due to loss of nesting sites, reduction of available food and perhaps our wet summers. While we are not in a position to affect the weather or the food we can provide nest boxes; or when old buildings are been reconstructed, special bricks can be incorporated to provide nest sites. Swifts are very faithful to their nest sites from year to year. The first step to helping conserve swifts is to locate their nest sites. Then, often the best way of helping them is to leave them alone. If swifts are known to nest in a building where renovation is necessary, disturbance and erection of scaffolding should not take place between May and August. Birdwatch Ireland would welcome reports of known nesting sites within the county. You can contact Cavan Birdwatch is on Facebook and has a blog page. Email to join our mailing list.  
photo by Clare Donoghue

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Castle Lake Forest,Dawn Chorus Walk

Wren by Bertha Waller

Lake at dawn by Bertha Waller

Mallard with chicks by Collette Gemmell

Photo Collette Gemmell

On May 13th we had a beautiful morning for the dawn chorus walk at Bailieborough Castle Lake forest. The walk commenced at 4. 30 am. It was already quite bright and the blackbirds and song thrushes were in full song.
Not only did we enjoy the song of many species of woodland birds, we also took time to enjoy watching the water birds too.

Mute Swan by Noah Phidgeon

bluebells by Noah Phidgeon

Photo Collette Gemmell

Castle Lake by Noah Phidgeon

Jackdaws by Bertha Waller

Castle lake forest by Collette Gemmell

We finished off the morning with coffee and homemade buns while listening to the song of a nearby chiffchaff.  Thanks to Mary for supplying the buns and to Bertha,Collette and Noah for sharing the photos.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Dawn Chorus, Belturbet

A 4.30 a.m start is likely to test the strongest of wills; yet a good turn-out of 11 interested people met at Turbet island carpark to greet the day. A song thrush on a nearby TV aerial  started our listening and was soon followed by the blackbird; with less musical notes from the grey crow in the background!
The walk is an enjoyable loop of a very easy grade and very popular with locals. Bats swooped overhead as we passed through the wooded area. The mist rose off the river and looked very atmospheric as the sun rose. A single grey heron stood still on a tuft mid-stream  looking very statuesque.
The list of heard birds was typical for a dawn walk; robin, wren, rook, blackcap, dunnock, goldcrest, wood pigeon, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, willow warbler all were heard singing.
With the daylight, visibility improved and we saw pied and grey wagtail, ,mallard, bullfinch, mute swan, swallow, coot, jackdaw, starling sand and house martin.
The walk ended with a much-appreciated mug of tea and scone. Thanks to all who attended and those with sharp ears for identifying individual species out of the vast display of song.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Dusk Chorus Event at Holistic Gardens, Shercock


A short walk to listen to the song of blackbird, song thrush and other resident birds will take place on Friday 23rd March at the Holistic Garden Retreat Centre,Glasleck,Shercock.
(A81 CF95)

Following the walk, a talk on Bird Song ID will take place to help us learn and prepare for the arrival of our summer migrants! This event is suitable for beginners.

The walk will commence at 6.15pm. 

Warm waterproof clothing and footwear is recommended and children should be accompanied by an adult.

For information on how to find the Holistic Garden Centre click here or contact Eva on 0871355502

Garden birdwatching during the snow storm



I had many interesting visitors to my feeders during the recent snow storm including fieldfares and song thrush. However, the birds that provided many hours of enjoyable watching were the flocks of starlings that visited the feeders during the four days of snow. My feeders and bird cake provided much needed food. On the first day of the snow a flock of about 20 starlings came to feed and the numbers increased day by day. On the final day of the snow I had a flock of 70 birds visit the garden. It was a real pleasure to help these lovely birds survive the terrible weather and they provided hours of entertainment! 

I miss not having them around anymore but intend to place a couple of nest boxes in the garden to help our breeding birds as starlings are now on the amber list of birds of conservation concern due to a moderate decline of the breeding European population.

Liz Mc Kenna

For information on how to construct a starling nest box click here 

Great footage of a murmuration of starlings can been seen here

Also great to see fieldfares and song thrushes come to the feeders!

song thrush

song thrush


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Lough Sheelin's shores

We will be meeting at Crover House Hotel, Mountnugent on Sunday, 25th February at 9.30 a.m.
From there we will drive to several points with good viewing of the lake and its birds.
Bring a lunch and dress warmly!
email or phone 087 7735487 for more information or if you have a query.