Issue 34, July 2012
Welcome to the July 2012 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
The past month has been incredibly busy for us here at BirdWatch Ireland, with our staff and volunteers spreading our conservation message and recruiting new members at events the length and breadth the country despite the often atrocious weather. Hello to all of the new eWings subscribers that we met at the many shows, festivals, talks and outings: it's great to have you on board.

We would like to give a special hello, as well as a huge thank you, to all of the people who visited our tent at the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway at the start of this month and helped us with our "End Overfishing or Fishing will be Over" social media campaign by posing for photographs calling for change. The response we received from the public was overwhelming, and we were able to share the pictures we took immediately via the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and the BirdWatch Ireland Twitter feed. You can click here to see a selection of the photos and campaign messages: if you stopped by the tent in Galway, keep a eye out for your own picture.

Thanks also to all of the volunteers whose dedication makes such events possible . . . and especially to those volunteers in Galway who agreed to wear the albatross suit for us to highlight the dangers posed to these magificent seabirds by long-line fisheries: it sure was hot inside that thing!

By the way, if seabirds are your thing you might like to check out A View from the Headland, the fascinating blog from our Seatrack project team who are currently monitoring migratory seabirds as they pass the Irish coast. Ireland's seabird viewing opportunities are the envy of birdwatchers all over Europe, and this blog will tell you all about our efforts to track and safeguard these amazing creatures.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Barn Owl nest camera
BirdWatch Ireland has teamed up with RTÉ Radio One's Mooney show to broadcast the first live webcam stream from inside an Irish Barn Owl nest. The Barn Owl is a very scarce and elusive bird which nests in very secluded and inaccessible locations such as deep within chimneys or cavities in ruined buildings, so views of the birds, let alone insights into their secret lives, are incredibly rare. This infra-red camera (the nest is completely dark) will allow viewers to follow the exciting progress as two young and fluffy chicks in a nest box in Co. Kerry morph into beautiful owlets and eventually learn to fly.
Click to watch the live Barn Owl nestcam stream via the Mooney show website
If you visit Cyprus, say no to ambelopoulia
The island of Cyprus is a popular destination for Irish holiday-makers. BirdWatch Ireland, along with its partner, BirdLife Cyprus, encourages visitors to enjoy the culinary delights the country has to offer, but with one important exception: ambelopoulia. Ambelopoulia is the name given to a local "delicacy" consisting of Blackcaps and other small songbirds that are illegally trapped in their thousands in Cyprus every year. The tiny birds are eaten whole, legs, beak and all. Local demand for this traditional speciality is the financial driving force behind what has become a mass annual slaughter of migratory birds.
Learn more about this disgraceful and illegal threat to Europe's migratory songbirds
300 million farmland birds have been lost across the EU since 1980
The latest scientific data brought together by BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council show that common farmland birds continue to decline in the EU: 300 million farmland birds have been lost since 1980. The news was released on the eve of a major civil society debate, organised by the European Commission and the new Cypriot Presidency of the EU, on support for the so-called "green reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)". Amidst growing fears that this latest reform might not deliver on its promises, the news of these shocking EU-wide farmland bird losses should remind us all of what is at stake. (Photo: Grey Partridge by Eddie Dunne)
See why we fear that CAP reform will fall short of what is needed to save farmland birds
Enter the Dragon!
A recent survey has revealed that more and more birdwatchers are noticing and identifying dragonflies whilst out and about but that these sightings are often never logged anywhere or submitted to any surveys. To remedy this situation, the BirdTrack team has just launched an exciting new facility through the BirdTrack website to allow observers also to record their dragonfly sightings, as well, of course, as the birds that they encounter.
See how you can add your dragonfly records to BirdTrack with our step-by-step guide
Making mammal-watching a whole lot easier
Mammal-watching can be quite challenging but also highly rewarding, especially with animals such as badgers, foxes and stoats. By using a motion-activated camera trap you can discover which mammals are in your area and also the time of day that they are most active. This greatly increases your chances of watching the animals in the field, as well of course as allowing you to get amazing photographs.

By using feeding stations in your garden or nearby countryside you can easily attract foxes and badgers, and with a bit of luck even some of our scarcer mammals, like this beautiful Pine Marten which we photographed using this very camera trap system at a specially-designed feeding station in a Co. Wicklow woodland just last week!
Prostalk PC2000 Camera Trap: now available from our online shop for €195 plus P&P
The end of Corncrake on the Callows?
If you are reading this in Ireland, you can't have failed to notice just how wet this summer has been. Rainfall levels have been far in excess of the norm, and this has caused serious problems for a whole range of Irish wildlife, not least our nesting birds. Worst hit of all have been those birds that nest on the ground, with rising flood waters washing away nests, eggs and chicks.

A case in point is the Corncrake, one of Ireland's most threatened birds. The Shannon Callows were, until recently, one of this iconic species' most important remaining strongholds, but summer flooding over successive nesting seasons has taken a heavy toll on their population in the region. This year, sadly, only one male returned to occupy a territory on the Callows. The horrendously wet weather almost certainly meant that his nesting attempt failed. Could this be the last Corncrake to be heard in the Callows? We won't know until next year . . . it's going to be long wait.
Read more about the impact of summer flooding on the Shannon Callows on our "By the Water's Edge" blog
In my introduction above, I mentioned our membership recruitment efforts at events around the country. One of the most common responses we hear when we ask if someone would like to join BirdWatch Ireland is, "I've been meaning to do this for ages!" Well, what are you waiting for?

If becoming a member of BirdWatch Ireland is something that you have been meaning to do, or if you happen to have one of our membership forms tucked away somewhere and have been intending to get around to sending it back to us, please don't put it off any longer - take this opportunity to join BirdWatch Ireland today. If you don't want to do it online, you can always give us a call on 01-2819878.

The best way of all to join, however, is by direct debit: it gives you an extra 3 months' membership free and saves us money which will then go to support conservation. We would also like to encourage existing members to switch over to direct debit payment: simply email to request a direct debit payment form from us. Regular eWings readers will already know about the vital work we do: please do your part for Ireland's wildlife and give us your support.

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.
Please note that BirdWatch Ireland will never pass your personal details on to anyone else.
© 2012
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