Seabirds to Songbirds

                 Dates for 2023

May 8-12 (arriving on Island on Sunday 7)

September 11-15 (arriving on Island on Sunday 10)

This course offers an insight into the world of migration and the joys of sea watching delivered in a humorous and enthusiastic manner by BirdWatch Ireland’s well known, Dick Coombes.

The course will cover a wide range of topics, from the skills needed to identify, understand and appreciate birds to knowing when and where to find them. Through observation and the use of a field notebook you will discover how to interpret aspects of birds’ plumage and behaviour and develop the skills to help you to identify both familiar and unfamiliar species. The course will also include some survey techniques and counting methods, the work of Cape Clear Bird Observatory and the effect of weather on birds and migration.

During the week of indoor and field-based activities, Dick will explore the wonders of migration with an emphasis on seabirds, their breeding habits and the fascinating journeys they undertake. The month of September is a stunning time on Cape with the opportunity to witness the migratory movements of seabirds such as Manx Shearwater, Storm Petrel, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Gannet and auks as they pass offshore. Less common, but regularly seen off Cape, are Sooty Shearwater, Great Skua and Arctic Skua and there is always the chance of a Pomarine Skua or Great Shearwater if the weather is favourable. This is also a good time to see cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoise) off Cape’s headlands and with any luck, perhaps other scarce ocean creatures such as Leatherback Turtle and Sunfish may turn up. An experience not to be missed!

Migratory land birds such as Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff and Wheatear stop off at Cape in autumn en route to their African wintering grounds and during walks around the island, a particular eye will be kept out for some of the other rarer migrants such as Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wood Warbler and Reed Warbler – all regulars on Cape in September.


The price of the week course is €230. Places are limited to 12 people per course. To get the most of your course experience, we encourage you to stay in the Bird Obs (shared dorm, self -catering accommodation), where we can offer a special course rate of €27/night.


For bookings, please call the BirdWatch Ireland on (01) 2819878 or complete the booking form below