Issue 100, January 2018
Welcome to the January 2018 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
This month's edition is a milestone for eWings: it is our 100th issue! We first launched BirdWatch Ireland's monthly email newsletter back in October 2009, and since then our mailing list has grown to more than 25,000 subscribers. We have covered a lot of stories and conservation projects over the course of the past 99 issues, all of which are available to read in our eWings archive.

As this also happens to be the first issue of eWings in 2018, we would like to take this opportunity to wish a very happy New Year to all of BirdWatch Ireland's members and supporters. We are very grateful to have you on board, and we wish you all the very best for the year ahead.

So, how are your New Year's resolutions going? If one of your resolutions was perhaps to do more for wildlife conservation, to spend more time outdoors or to get to know Ireland's birds better, a great way to tick all of those boxes is to join BirdWatch Ireland as a member. As Ireland's largest and most active conservation charity, the money you entrust to us is put to very good use, protecting some of Ireland's most vulnerable wildlife.

If you already happen to be a member of ours, why not instead resolve to convince some of your friends and family to join us too? You already know all of the great benefits they will receive, such as Wings magazine, our garden bird welcome pack and access to more than 450 events throughout the year. The more nature-lovers you can convince to join us, the better equipped we will be to fight on your behalf for Ireland's natural heritage.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Wings magazine: Spring 2018 issue on its way . . . but only for members
Wings, BirdWatch Ireland's quarterly 32-page magazine, will be posted out to all of our members within the coming days. It is a great read, featuring articles on topics from choosing the right field guide to tracking the migratory routes of Whimbrels, and from wildlife-friendly gardening to birdwatching sites around Lough Corrib, plus letters from our members, updates on our fisheries work and Dublin Bay Birds Project, bird photography in Iceland, a report on the recent Hawfinch influx, and plenty more.

The only way to receive Wings is to become a member of BirdWatch Ireland, which thankfully is easy to do: simply sign up here today.
Take a sneak peek at our Spring Diary, an exclusive sample from our Spring 2018 issue
"What's that bird of prey in my garden?"
BirdWatch Ireland receives lots of phone calls, emails and letters from people surprised to have seen a bird of prey in their gardens. Several different bird of prey species have been reported from Irish gardens, but far and away the most common is the beautiful Sparrowhawk, Ireland's default garden raptor.

Indeed, the results of last winter's Garden Bird Survey revealed the Sparrowhawk to be the 25th most frequently-seen garden bird overall, reported from 32.9% of gardens.

(Photo: male Sparrowhawk by Tom Ormond)
Learn more about the stunning Sparrowhawk in the latest instalment of our Garden Bird Blog
Buy your bird food and feeders from BirdWatch Ireland
It has been a mixed winter so far, and no doubt another cold spell will soon be on the way. When it arrives, you should see a significant increase in the number of birds visiting your garden. Providing food and water for them can make a real difference to their survival, and it is also a great way to watch them at close quarters and to learn more about them.

The best way to buy bird food and feeders is, of course, from BirdWatch Ireland. We stock a wide range of garden birdcare products which we can deliver to anywhere in Ireland. Even better, when you buy from us all of the proceeds support our conservation work, so the birds get a double benefit. (Photo: Goldfinches feeding on nyjer seed, by Shay Connolly)
Browse the full range of bird food and feeders available from our online shop
Upcoming bird survey workshops in Athlone, Thurles and Cavan
During March, BirdWatch Ireland will be holding three training days for anyone interested in taking part in our Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) and/or our Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS). Volunteers who are already participating in either of these surveys are also very welcome to attend.

Our first workshop will be held in Athlone on Sunday 4th March, followed by another in Thurles on Sunday 11th March and finally one in Cavan Town on Saturday 24th March. All sessions will start at 10.00 hrs and finish at about 15.30 hrs. We will explain all you need to know about how to carry out the two surveys and give you some practical experience of recording birds and form-filling during a short field trip. The workshops are free of charge and lunch will be provided.
Click to learn more about our bird survey workshops and to register your place
BirdWatch Ireland's Nature Reserve Appeal - still time to donate
Ireland's wildlife is under immense pressure, right across the country, with ever fewer places to call home. But hope is not lost. BirdWatch Ireland looks after nineteen precious nature reserves, spread throughout the country. These reserves contain a diverse array of habitats, from lakes, saltmarshes and grasslands to woods and rocky islands. They host some astonishing wildlife, including many seriously threatened breeding and wintering birds.

As pressure on natural habitats increases, our reserve network ensures that some land in Ireland is managed in the interests of threatened birds, habitats and wider wildlife. As well as providing safe havens for nature, our reserves offer the perfect environment for visitors to escape the pressures of modern life and enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of these inspiring landscapes. With your support, we can secure their future.
Your nature reserves need your help - please donate to our Nature Reserves Appeal today
EU Commission takes Ireland to court over poor environmental record
BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the decision of the European Commission to bring the Irish State back to court over its decade-long failure to carry out an environmental impact assessment for Ireland's largest wind farm. Back in July 2008, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Ireland had failed to carry out a proper assessment for the 70 turbine Derrybrien wind farm which was built in the early 2000s. The Government has yet to carry out the assessment on the site.

The construction of the controversial wind farm by Hibernian Wind Power - a wholly owned subsidiary of the ESB - led to the removal of large areas of forest and extraction of peat up to 5.5 metres deep on the top of the Cashlaundrumlahan Mountain. This subsequently led to a 2km landslide in October 2003, causing 450,000 cubic meters of peat to slide down the mountainside, destroying the ecology of a 20km section of a nearby river system, killing up to 100,000 fish, affecting the water supply to the town of Gort and causing damage to the Loch Cutra Special Areas of Conservation site.

The Commission has now requested that the CJEU slap Ireland with a minimum fine of almost €1.7m, as well as a daily penalty of just over €12,000 if Ireland does not fully comply by the date of the Court's ruling. This decision highlights the catastrophic failure by our Government to adhere to environmental law and forces Ireland to protect its environment for its people.
Click for more information on the European Commission's decision to bring Ireland before the Court of Justice
BirdWatch Ireland hopes to be in a position to recruit for various seasonal posts for the 2018 season (all subject to successful tender bids and/or confirmation of funding). The roles will involve carrying out agreed programmes of habitat management, bird surveys, research work or species recovery work, alone or as part of a small team.

A description of the possible roles is available here (PDF: 643KB)

The Application Form can be downloaded here (DOC: 107KB)

The closing date for applications is Friday 16th February 2018, at 12:00pm.

See you again next month!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer

P.S. Would you like to join as a member today and/or make a donation to support our vital conservation work?
  BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Co. Wicklow
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Tel: (+353)-(0)1-2819878

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.
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