Issue 95, August 2017
Welcome to the August 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Apologies to any BirdWatch Ireland members who received a defective copy of the Autumn 2017 issue of Wings magazine in the post earlier this month. Unfortunately some errors occurred during the printing process, which led to a small number of copies being incorrectly trimmed. If you received a defective copy of the magazine, please either email us at or give us a call on 01-2819878 and we will arrange for a replacement to be sent to you.

If you are reading this, are not currently a BirdWatch Ireland member and would like to receive Wings magazine in the post each quarter, please join BirdWatch Ireland today. In addition to the magazine, you will also receive a welcome pack containing a range of bird identification posters, information about our national network of nature reserves and the opportunity to attend more than 450 local branch events each year throughout the country. Membership costs €40 for individuals and €50 for families (who also receive our junior magazine, Bird Detectives), and all funds raised go to support our vital work to conserve Ireland's birds and biodiversity.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Late Nesting Bird Survey 2017: we need your records
BirdWatch Ireland is looking for records of actively-nesting songbird species, including Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Goldfinch (left: photo by John McCauley) and Blackbird, during the late summer and early autumn period (August-September).

We are hoping to use these records to determine when the nesting seasons for these species actually finish in Ireland. Any records that our eWings readers can submit would be very gratefully received.
Read more about our Late Nesting Bird Survey and how to submit your records
A Life in the Trees: pre-publication offer
The Great Spotted Woodpecker first bred in Ireland in 2009. A Life in the Trees, which will be published on 28th September 2017, is a highly engaging personal account by author Declan Murphy of his observations of the daily lives of a family of these new colonists near his Co. Wicklow home. He brings the reader deep into the world of this fascinating species: a world of hope, death, new life and ultimately success. Featuring superb illustrations by Killian Mullarney and Fleming Christoffersen, with stunning colour photographs by Dick Coombes and a foreward by renowned Wicklow-based film director John Boorman, this is a book to be treasured not just by birdwatchers, but by anyone with even a passing interest in the natural world.
Pre-order A Life in the Trees from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop for €20, plus P&P
The worst-named bird in Dublin Bay!
Dublin Bay is of vital importance for a whole host of birds, and at this time of the year much of the work of BirdWatch Ireland's Dublin Bay Birds Project is concentrated on the thousands of terns which gather there each evening, especially on Sandymount Stand, in advance of their long migration south. For the most recent update to their blog, however, our project team has for a change chosen to focus on the Black-headed Gulls which share the beaches with the terns. They might be a common and frequently overlooked, even disregarded, species, but there is more to them than you might think - not least the fact that their heads are not actually black at all! (Photo: Black-headed Gull by Brian Burke)
Read more about Black-headed Gulls over on our Dublin Bay Birds Project blog
Help to halt the destruction of Europe's last primeval forest
State-sanctioned logging is destroying the Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland , Europe's final remaining primeval forest and part of our priceless shared European Heritage. Its trees are being cut to make plywood and pallets, and the Polish Government is deliberately and openly ignoring both EU nature protection laws and the European Court of Justice in allowing this devastation to proceed. BirdWatch Ireland stands with OTOP, our BirdLife International partner in Poland, in demanding that the logging stop and in supporting the local group known as Defenders of the Forest, who are working tirelessly to stop the tree-felling machines, block the roads and disrupt this illegal logging. Please, add your voice to theirs.
Read more about this shameful destruction and add your name to the campaign to stop it
International Wader Study Group Conference: report and abstracts
In September of last year BirdWatch Ireland hosted the International Wader Study Group Conference in Trabolgan Holiday Village, on the east of Cork Harbour. Attended by 135 wader researchers, students and enthusiasts hailing from 25 different countries, it proved to be a great success, showcasing the best in wader research from around the world. All of the abstracts from the 33 talks that were given during the conference have now been made available, and BirdWatch Ireland's own Lesley Lewis has written an account of proceedings for our eWings readers. (Photo: Greenshank, by Shay Connolly)
Read Lesley's report on this landmark conference, and the abstracts from the talks
The recovery of North Sea cod: a potential red herring for Europe's fisheries
The recent announcement by the Marine Stewardship Council that North Sea cod stocks are now certified as being sustainable has been met with great fanfare. Over a decade after North Sea stocks came close to collapse, fishermen have heralded the recovery of cod stocks as being the result of the sacrifices they have had to endure under the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Credit for this positive news story should go to the fishermen, fisheries scientists and politicians who have hauled North Sea cod back from the brink. What this news should spell out is that when all stakeholders work together and set fisheries policies in line with science rather than politics, stocks can recover and fishing can become more sustainable and profitable.

The sustainable certification of North Sea cod must be seen as an endorsement of the CFP, not an excuse to ignore the real state of Europe's marine environment. While the tentative recovery of North Sea cod is heartening, any suggestion that the marine environment in the North Sea, or anywhere else in Europe, is in a good state should be taken with a large pinch of sea salt. Whilst the size of the spawning stock of North Sea cod is better than it has been in any point this century, it is still far smaller than it was in 1970 and remains at just a fraction of historical levels. Despite ongoing efforts, nearly half of assessed fish stocks in the North Sea are still over-exploited. Looking at the quotas set across EU waters between 2001 and 2016 shows that, on average, 7 out of every 10 quotas were set above scientific advice.
Fintan Kelly, Policy Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, explains why efforts to stop overfishing must continue
Would you believe that most BirdWatch Ireland members have never been to any of the events organised by our network of 30 local branches? Literally never. Last year alone, BirdWatch Ireland ran over 450 different events, and one of the very best things about being a Member is the ability to attend these excellent events at no cost.

Of course those thousands of members who actually do attend the birdwatching walks, indoor talks and other wildlife-themed events organised by our branch volunteers overwhelmingly tell us that they thoroughly enjoy them. So what is stopping people?

Some members tell us that it comes down to a fear of not knowing enough about birds: trust us, that does not matter at all - everyone has to start somewhere, and branch events are the best way to learn. Other members tell us that they lack the time: it only takes an hour or two, that is all. And some members worry about sticking out or not knowing anyone there: our branch volunteers have lots of experience in making people feel welcome - once you go for the first time, believe us, you will want to go to more of these events.

If you have never been to a BirdWatch Ireland event, now is your opportunity. We have a full programme of local branch events taking place all over the country over the next few months, and there are bound to be some taking place not far away from you. Many branches even run special New Member Events designed to make absolute beginners feel fully at home. So why wait - just go along and have some fun!

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?
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