Issue 32, May 2012
Welcome to the May 2012 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Have you seen your first Swift of 2012 yet? One of our final summer migrants to arrive, they are beginning to stream into the country now: keep your eyes peeled for their distinctive long-winged silhouette and listen out for their high-pitched streaming cry from high overhead. When you do see one, please do remember to log it on our Spring Alive website. We also need you to log your first Swallows and Cuckoos of the year too, so please include them too.

Another great way to tell us about the birds you are seeing is via the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with Irish conservation news as it happens.

If you have yet to do so, please do also become a member of BirdWatch Ireland: as a charity, the money we receive from memberships is essential for us, and there are lots of great benefits for our members too, including our excellent Wings magazine, local Branch events, access to our nature reserves and lots more.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
National Dawn Chorus Day - Sunday 20th May
BirdWatch Ireland's annual National Dawn Chorus Day is without question the most popular date in our events calendar. There is something about birdsong that really strikes a chord with people, and with good reason: it can be a truly magical experience.

This year BirdWatch Ireland branches all over the country will be holding guided dawn chorus events on and around this coming Sunday, 20th May: please follow the link below for the full listing. All are free of charge and open to all, so why not come along and see what all the fuss is about? (Photo: Robin in full song, by Clive Timmons)
Find full details of upcoming BirdWatch Ireland birdsong events in your part of the country
BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the return of nesting White-tailed Eagles
Nesting White-tailed Eagles have been confirmed on a small island on Lough Derg, near Mountshannon in Co. Clare, which marks the first documented evidence of breeding since the species became extinct from Ireland over 100 years ago. Human persecution was the main reason for the disappearance of the species from Ireland during the early 20th century. However a reintroduction scheme was initiated by the Golden Eagle Trust in 2007 with the aim of re-establishing these birds in Ireland. (Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan)
Read all about the first Irish nesting attempt by these majestic birds in over a century
By the Water's Edge - our brand new breeding wader blog
The Shannon Callows is one of the most important areas in Ireland for our breeding waders - in particular Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew and Snipe - which are now amongst our most threatened nesting birds of all. We want to spread the word about the work that we do to conserve these fascinating birds, as well as other species on the Shannon Callows, so our own Kathryn Finney has started a new blog which includes news about the Shannon Callows Breeding Wader Project (funded by NPWS) and a lot more besides, entitled By the Water's Edge: it's a great read. (Photo: Redshank, by Brian Caffrey)
Check out By the Water's Edge, and don't forget to bookmark it and check back often
Let the grass grow under your feet
Taken collectively, Ireland's gardens make up one of the largest and most important wildlife habitat types on our island. Gardeners often ask us how they can maximise the wildlife potential of their gardens and benefit native flora and fauna, and the dedicated "gardening for birds" features by Lynn O'Keeffe-Lascar in Wings, our quarterly membership magazine, are proving very popular. We thought that you might like to read Lynn's latest installment, taken exclusively from our forthcoming Summer 2012 issue.

(Photo: male Blackbird on a lawn, by Terry Flanagan)
Read Lynn O'Keefe-Lascar's helpful article on the vital role of grass in wildlife gardening
The Mulepack: the perfect way to carry your telescope and tripod
Although a telescope and tripod can open a whole new window on your birdwatching when compared to just binoculars, they have the downside of being heavier and more cumbersome to carry. BirdWatch Ireland is delighted to be able to offer the perfect solution to this problem with the unique Mulepack.

This innovative tripod-carrier makes carrying your tripod (with telescope still attached) a breeze, while leaving your hands free to use your binoculars. It easily attaches to any tripod and can be left on all the time, whether in use or not. That's not all: as well as a tripod carrier it also acts as rucksack, with a large internal zipped storage pocket, water bottle carrier, small notebook/fieldguide compartment and detachable field bag with shoulder strap. To see the Mulepack in action, check out this video clip.
Order your Mulepack from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for only 99 euro, plus P&P
BirdTrack Goes Mobile
Submitting your bird observations to us has just become even easier and more convenient. A fantastic new BirdTrack app for Android phones has just been launched, allowing BirdTrackers to collect casual records within Britain and Ireland. Records can be collected offline, then verified and uploaded later, when convenient. GPS integration is included (when the GPS in your device is switched on!), and there's a helpful local hotspot viewer too. All in all, this is a vital app for any BirdTracker with an Android phone so go ahead and download it free today using the link below!

If you are an iPhone user, watch this space: an iPhone version is under development and should be available later in the year.
Click to download the free BirdTrack app for Android and start sending us your bird records
The Little Tern is Ireland's rarest breeding seabird, and the largest colony of this charming little bird is on the beach at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, just down the road from our head office. Every summer, as part of a conservation project run by BirdWatch Ireland and NPWS, we have a team of wardens on the beach around the clock to protect and monitor them. You can follow the terns' progress, including photos and video, on our special Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project blog, which is now up and running.

In last month's issue of eWings we mentioned the landmark new book Bird Habitats in Ireland, edited by Richard Nairn and John O'Halloran. A comprehensive, up-to-date review of the bird communities of all the Ireland's habitat-types, it will become a key work of reference for all future ornithological research in Ireland. It is now available from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for 35 euro, plus P&P.

Don't forget also that the results of the research upon which this book is based will be presented at a unique one-day symposium hosted by the RDS, Dublin, this coming Friday, 18th May. Supported by BirdWatch Ireland, BTO, RSPB and University College Cork, the symposium will be of interest to all birdwatchers, ecologists and conservationists. More information, including a full programme and booking details, is available on the Bird Habitats Symposium website.

Good Bird Watching,
Oran O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer, BirdWatch Ireland
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Co. Wicklow
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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