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eWings
Issue 71, August 2015
BIRDWATCH IRELAND eWINGS
Welcome to the August 2015 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
We would like to start by thanking our eWings readers most sincerely for their support in defending the laws that protect nature. The Save Our Nature/Nature Alert campaign across Europe finished at the end of July, with 520,325 people completing the public consultation through the Nature Alert portal and defending the Birds and Habitats Directives. This has smashed all European Union public consultation records, and the European Commission has congratulated the campaign organisers for mobilising such interest in the "Fitness Check" of the Directives.

The message sent is that better implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives is what is needed, as opposed to their revision, which we contend would cause years of uncertainty for nature conservation and for business. In Ireland, the campaign was organised primarily by BirdWatch Ireland and An Taisce, with the involvement and support of other enviromental organisations. In total 7,694 people in Ireland signed the campaign, with BirdWatch Ireland supporters accounting for 3,341 of this number, putting us in 13th position amongst EU Member States; the UK were number one, with 100,262 responses. However, when compared with population size, Ireland came in 6th of all the Member States. The Commission is currently assessing all responses to their public consultation and the next steps should be announced later in the year. In the meantime BirdWatch Ireland will continue to work on this with our politicians at a national and EU level.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
ARTICLES
Ireland's Special Swifts - check out our brand new video
The Swift is one of Ireland's most special migrant birds, visiting our towns and cities for just three months each summer to nest and raise their chicks. The rest of their lives are spent entirely on the wing, high in the skies of Africa. We've produced a new video explaining more about them, the threats they face and what can be done to help them.

Many thanks to the Heritage Council for funding our National Swift Survey 2015 and also the making of this video. (Photo: Swift in flight, by Dick Coombes)
Watch our new video Ireland's Special Swifts and learn more about these incredible birds
Sunday World and Doolin Ferry Co. seabird competition results
BirdWatch Ireland and the Sunday World recently published the second in our joint series of special Bird Detectives supplements. This one was on the topic of seabirds and contained an exciting kids' competition. The three lucky winners, in no particular order, are:
  • Emma O'Neill, aged 10, from Co. Kildare
  • Shane Tobin, aged 6, from Co. Limerick
  • Ellie Sheil, aged 6, from Co. Galway
Emma, Shane and Ellie each won a family pass for a "Seabird Cliff Cruise Experience" at the Cliffs of Moher, courtesy of BirdWatch Ireland Business Patron The Doolin Ferry Co.
Visit the Doolin Ferry Co. website and learn more about their wildlife-watching trips
Red-necked Phalaropes return to Annagh Marsh, Co. Mayo
We are delighted to report that, after an absence of almost 30 years, Red-necked Phalaropes returned this summer to breed at BirdWatch Ireland's Annagh Marsh reserve on the Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo. The last documented breeding pair was in 1986, and the last sighting was of a single bird in 1993, so the return of these gorgeous little birds is indeed remarkable and, to be frank, a major thrill for all of us!
(Photo: Red-necked Phalarope, one of Ireland's prettiest waders, by David Dillon)
Learn more about the landmark return of the beautiful Red-necked Phalarope to Co. Mayo
Binoculars and telescopes: catch us with our prices down!
If you are looking to buy a new telescope or pair of binoculars, we have some good news for you. BirdWatch Ireland is currently holding an optics sale, with prices on many of our most popular Opticron models reduced by 10%-20%.

This is the perfect opportunity to pick up a bargain, while at the same time doing your bit for wildlife: all proceeds go to support BirdWatch Ireland's vital conservation work.
Check out BirdWatch Ireland's binocular and telescope sale and grab yourself a bargain
Star Wars filming activity on Skellig Michael
It has been widely reported in the media that the producers of Star Wars intend to shoot part of the next film in the franchise on the remote island of Skellig Michael, off the Co. Kerry coast. Following a previous filming session on the island last year and in the absence of proper clarification from either the film-makers or the Irish Government, BirdWatch Ireland has some concerns over the possible impact on the island's sensitive breeding seabirds. (Photo: Beehive hut on Skellig Michael, by Jen Lynch).
Read BirdWatch Ireland's position statement on the proposed filming on Skellig Michael
Review of Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, dealing with hedgerow-cutting
In late 2014, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., initiated a public consultation inviting views on the provisions of Section 40 of the Wildlife Act which identifies dates on which the cutting of hedgerows and the burning of vegetation is not allowed, so as to protect nesting wild birds and their habitats. A "closed period" for these activities is set in the legislation as between 1st March and 31st August, with limited exemptions for specific reasons such as for health and safety. The Minister has received 188 submissions which will inform any changes she may make to the legislation, including one from BirdWatch Ireland.
Please click here to read BirdWatch Ireland's position statement on the review of Section 40 (PDF: 195KB)
FINALLY...
The time has come to announce the winner of BirdWatch Ireland's Wildlife in Ireland 2015 photography competition. We received a huge number of truly excellent entries, and after much deliberation we are awarding first prize to John Fox of Clontarf, Dublin for his outstanding photo of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, one of Ireland's newest breeding bird species, taken in Co. Wicklow. John wins one night B&B plus dinner for two in The Lake Hotel, Killarney (in a lake-view room with a complimentary bottle of wine), a prize valued at €250.

Our runner-up is Richard Duff of Portlaoise, Co. Laois for his stunningly-detailed photo of a Dingy Skipper butterfly. Richard wins a selection of wildlife books worth €200 from The Collins Press in Cork. You can view both of the winning photographs here. A selection of the best competition entries received will be featured in the BirdWatch Ireland 2016 Calendar, as well as in the Winter 2015 issue of Wings.

Talking of Wings, a lot of people ask us what it is and how they can receive it. Wings is our quarterly membership magazine, and the only way to get it is to become a member of BirdWatch Ireland. Membership runs for 12 months, and all members receive a new issue of Wings in the post every three months, along with a lovely welcome pack, a set of bird identification posters, details of our vital conservation work, access to our national network of nature reserves and the opportunity to attend over 450 free BirdWatch Ireland Branch events around the country each year. As a conservation charity, our membership is our lifeblood: we really need your support.

Yours sincerely,
Niall Hatch, Development Officer
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Kilcoole
Co. Wicklow
A63 RW83
Tel: (+353)-(0)1-2819878
Email: info@birdwatchireland.ie

BirdWatch Ireland is the trading name of the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, a company limited by guarantee and registered in Ireland, no. 116468. Registered Charity no. 5703.
Please note that BirdWatch Ireland will never pass your personal details on to anyone else.
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