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Displaying items by tag: Birdwatch Ireland

BirdWatch Ireland is seeking citizen scientists for records of raptors and river birds in Dublin City this summer.

The Dublin City Raptor Survey is seeking records of Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl, while the Dublin City River Bird Survey is seeking records of Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Sand Martin and Dipper.

Raptor and river bird populations are often under-recorded in Ireland due to their ecology, Birdwatch Ireland notes.

“Several bird species are of significant conservation concern, including the Grey Wagtail, which declined by 67% between 1998 and 2016,”it says.

“Meanwhile, raptors such as Kestrel and Barn Owl are Red-listed species, meaning they are at risk of extinction in Ireland,”it notes.

The survey running until September 30th is being run by Birdwatch Ireland in collaboration with Dublin City Council as part of the Dublin City Biodiversity Action Plan.

It is supported by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

“As urbanisation is increasing rapidly in Ireland, we need to better understand our baseline population of river birds and how are they faring in an increasingly urbanised environment,”it says.

“This information will inform conservation measures for these species. Citizen scientists are key to these projects, and your knowledge and sightings will make a significant contribution to our understanding of river bird and raptor populations and their distribution in Dublin city,” it says.

These surveys can be undertaken by people of all ages at any Dublin city location, and there is no minimum time commitment.

Participants should have some basic raptor and/or river bird identification skills. Binoculars are recommended but not required.

To learn more about these surveys and to get involved, visit here

Meanwhile, as Afloat reported earlier,  Dublin Port Company (DPC) is welcoming back its breeding terns for the summer months. Among these returning birds is likely an Arctic Tern that was first ringed in Dublin Port in the year 2000 and has been flying back and forth from Antarctica ever since. At least 23 years old, this is the oldest Arctic Tern on record in the Republic of Ireland.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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BirdWatch Ireland has welcomed the announcement of a new scheme for the protection and conservation of breeding waders.

€30 million has been set aside for the Breeding Wader EIP (European Innovation Partnership), according to the Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan.

A sum of €22.5 million is to be invested by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, with the remaining €7.5 million coming from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

"Waders are amongst the most threatened of all breeding birds in Ireland"

Waders are amongst the most threatened of all breeding birds in Ireland, with six of the eight regularly occurring species on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland, Birdwatch Ireland says.

The six species are the curlew, lapwing, dunlin, golden plover, redshank and snipe.

Five of these species have declined by at least 50% in the last 40 years.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm NoonanMinister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan

Curlew and lapwing have each declined by over 90% in the last 20 years and are considered to be approaching globally threatened status by BirdLife International, it says.

“Loss of breeding habitat through agricultural intensification, draining of peatlands and afforestation have all contributed to these declines, but widespread predation of nests and chicks by generalist predators such as foxes and crows have also severely impacted remaining populations in recent years,” Birdwatch Ireland says.

The organisation says it had previously recognised that a scheme underpinned by at least €30 million was required to support farmers to undertake measures to save Ireland’s breeding waders from extinction.

“ We are pleased that the Irish government has taken heed,” it said.

“The Government has been implementing measures aimed at protecting and restoring populations, for example, through the Acres Co-operation scheme and the Curlew Conservation Programmes. However, more ambitious plans are required if these iconic birds are to be saved from extinction,” it says.

“The new measures which have just been announced could make a significant difference to saving breeding waders, but must be targeted and implemented correctly,” Birdwatch Ireland chief executive officer Linda Lennon said.

“ Farmers have long wanted to act for nature but have lacked the funding to enable them to do so. This new funding stream must enable farmers to put in place habitat management measures to protect breeding waders on their land.”

“Predator control measures, including the installation of specialised fencing to exclude predators, must also be part of the solution. The effectiveness of such fencing has already been proven beyond doubt by projects implemented by BirdWatch Ireland and others and is crucial to efforts to save our breeding waders,” she said.

Published in Marine Wildlife

BirdWatch Ireland has said it is “shocked” at the spread of a highly virulent strain of avian flu in seabird colonies in Britain, and says Ireland needs to develop a response plan urgently.

No cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been positively identified in seabirds in the Republic of Ireland yet, but cases have been confirmed in several locations in Northern Ireland, it says.

The NGO is calling on the government to convene key stakeholders “urgently” with a view to developing and implementing a response plan to the growing threat of the spread in Ireland.

“We are witnessing the potential decimation of seabird populations on a scale that has not been seen before in our lifetimes. We are as a result gravely concerned for seabird colonies in Ireland,”Birdwatch Ireland says.

“We believe that it is only a matter of time before a wild bird is tested positive by Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine veterinary staff, but casual sightings indicate that the disease is probably present in our wild birds already,” it says.

“HPAI has the potential to spread rapidly in breeding seabird colonies, as seabirds gather in high numbers and in close proximity to lay eggs and rear chicks on Irish cliffs, headlands and islands,”it says.

Birdwatch Ireland stresses the international importance of Irish colonies, with Rockabill Island off the coast of Skerries in north County Dublin holding up to 80% of Europe’s breeding Roseate Terns.

The Kilcoole, County Wicklow Little Tern colony holds 40% of Ireland’s Little Tern population, it says, while Manx Shearwater occurs on just a handful of colonies.

Sites off the south-east such as Great Saltee island hold internationally important breeding seabird populations, including the gannet, which has been impacted particularly severely, it says.

It says that given that 23 of Ireland’s 24 breeding seabirds are already red or amber listed birds of conservation concern, with global threats to the puffin and kittiwake, the government here must act very quickly and take the HPAI threat seriously.

Birdwatch Ireland senior seabird conservation officer Dr Stephen Newton described the situation as “frightening”.

“There are three or four species where virtually the whole of the Irish, or sometimes the whole of the European, population nest at just one or two sites. Our big fear is that these could be wiped out completely,” Dr Newton says.

BirdWatch Ireland says that with the agreement of the National Parks and Wildlife Service it is ceasing research and monitoring activities at seabird colonies, where staff and volunteers would be in very close proximity to wild birds, except in exceptional circumstances.

“ This will help reduce disturbance and minimise the risk of spreading the disease,”it says.

“Our seabirds are the life and soul of the coastline in the summer. The Irish Government has a responsibility to protect them as much as possible from this deadly disease,”it says.

“HPAI originated in intensively manged poultry flocks and then infected wild birds. Putting in place measures which may help to minimise the spread in Ireland is essential to prevent further biodiversity loss, but also to protect poultry flocks which could be re-infected from the disease circulating in the wild bird population,”it says.

It advises anyone who sees a dead or distressed wild bird to report it to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine at https://aviancheck.apps.rhos.agriculture.gov.ie/report.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE – The South Dublin Branch of BirdWatch Ireland is organising outdoor meetings over the summer which include watching terns and other species during July at Coliemore Harbour, Dalkey, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The first meeting is Tuesday 3rd July (6.30-8pm) and every other Tuesday during the month. None-members of Birdwatch Ireland are invited to the evenings which are run in conjunction with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo).

During the seabird viewing evenings, BirdWatch Ireland experts will be on hand to show the breeding terns and other birds whose habitat is not just confined to Dalkey Island. The island encompasses Lamb Island and the rocky outcrops of Clare and Maiden Rocks which straddle towards Dublin Bay while to the east of the island lies The Muglins with its lighthouse.

For further information including the Dalkey Tern Project visit: www.southdublinbirds.com/events/events.php and www.dlrevents.ie/

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Staff and students from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology spotted an black-browed albatross in what was a "very rare" sighting of the bird in Ireland's skies, The Irish Times reports.

The group was on board the State marine research vessel Celtic Explorer off the southwest coast when they witnessed the albatross, also known as a Mollymawk, which is noted for its dark eye stripe.

The black-browed albatross is normally restricted to the Southern Hemisphere, but Birdwatch Ireland's Niall Hatch said it has been spotted from headlands in Ireland in the past.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the GMIT group were among a party of 20 scientists from Ireland, Nothern Ireland and Scotland carrying out a study of whales, dolphins, seabirds and plankton in the Atlantic.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Limerick branch of Birdwatch Ireland is seeking volunteers to assist in rescuing birds from oil spillages in the Shannon Estuary.

A report in the Limerick Post recounts a recent meeting at Shannon Rowing Club, where Birdwatch Ireand highlighted the impact on the environment and marine wildlife from both major and minor oil spills.

The meeting also discussed the role that local birdwatchers can play in determining crucial spillage incident response times.

A training exercise at Poulnasherry Bay is being organised for next month using equipment donated to the Irish Seal Sanctuary, preceeded by a similated planning exercise and "on-the-ground response".

The Irish Seal Sanctuary will also provide opportunities for training in the rehabilitation and cleaning of spillage-affected birds.

The Limerick Post has much more on this story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Evening Herald has highlighted the work of a new union of wildlife protection groups which is training volunteers to act the event of serious environmental threats to Ireland's sea bird population.
Wildlife rescue volunteer Pauline Beades from Garristown in north Co Dublin has been working with Ireland's animal groups to change the official approach to wildlife - particularly birds - that get caught in oil spills.
The Irish Seal Sanctuary, Birdwatch Ireland, the ISPCA, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), Coastwatch and Irish Wildlife Trust have written a joint "letter of comfort" for the Irish Coast Guard, which is the State body charged with dealing with coastal oil spills.
The groups have pledged to work together in the event of any oil spill that involves a threat to marine wildlife.
Their response plan involves an initial wave of volunteers walking beaches to gather affected animals and providing first aid, followed by transfering them to veterinarians in specialised field hospitals, as well as facilities for longer-term care.
Last weekend Beades helped train volunteers in Limerick, who also attended lectures and demonstrations from visiting wildlife rescue experts from Europe to prepare for any potential sea-borne wildlife emergency.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Evening Herald has highlighted the work of a new union of wildlife protection groups which is training volunteers to act the event of serious environmental threats to Ireland's sea bird population.

Wildlife rescue volunteer Pauline Beades from Garristown in north Co Dublin has been working with Ireland's animal groups to change the official approach to wildlife - particularly birds - that get caught in oil spills.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary, Birdwatch Ireland, the ISPCA, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), Coastwatch and Irish Wildlife Trust have written a joint "letter of comfort" for the Irish Coast Guard, which is the State body charged with dealing with coastal oil spills.

The groups have pledged to work together in the event of any oil spill that involves a threat to marine wildlife.

Their response plan involves an initial wave of volunteers walking beaches to gather affected animals and providing first aid, followed by transfering them to veterinarians in specialised field hospitals, as well as facilities for longer-term care.

Recently Beades helped train volunteers in Limerick, who also attended lectures and demonstrations from visiting wildlife rescue experts from Europe to prepare for any potential sea-borne wildlife emergency.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual offshore yacht racing event with an increasingly international exposure attracting super maxi yachts and entries from around tne world. It is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

The 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts in Sydney Harbour at 1pm (AEDT) on Monday 26 December.

This is the 77th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The inaugural race was conducted in 1945 and has run every year since, apart from 2020, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

88 boats started the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, with 50 finishing.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - FAQs

The number of Sydney Hobart Yacht Races held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945 is 75

6,257 completed the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, 1036 retired or were disqualified)

About 60,061 sailors have competed in the Sydney Hobart Race between 1945 and 2019

Largest fleets: 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 (309 finished); 154 starters in 1987 (146 finished); 179 starters in 1985 (145 finished); 151 starters in 1984 (46 finished); 173 started in 1983 (128 finished); 159 started in 1981 (143 finished); 147 started in 1979 (142 finished); 157 started in 2019 (154 finished)

116 in 2004 (59 finished); 117 in 2014 (103 finished); 157 in 2019 (154 finished)

Nine starters in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945

In 2015 and 2017 there were 27, including the 12 Clipper yachts (11 in 2017). In the record entry of 371 yachts in the 50th in 1994, there were 24 internationals

Rani, Captain John Illingworth RN (UK). Design: Barber 35’ cutter. Line and handicap winner

157 starters, 154 finishers (3 retirements)

IRC Overall: Ichi Ban, a TP52 owned by Matt Allen, NSW. Last year’s line honours winner: Comanche, Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP (FRA) owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, in 1 day 18 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just 1hour 58min 32secs separated the five super maxis at the finish 

1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, set in 2017 by LDV Comanche after Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour in port/starboard incident for a finish time of 1d 9h 48m 50s

The oldest ever sailor was Syd Fischer (88 years, 2015).

As a baby, Raud O'Brien did his first of some six Sydney Hobarts on his parent's Wraith of Odin (sic). As a veteran at three, Raud broke his arm when he fell off the companionway steps whilst feeding biscuits to the crew on watch Sophie Tasker sailed the 1978 race as a four-year-old on her father’s yacht Siska, which was not an official starter due to not meeting requirements of the CYCA. Sophie raced to Hobart in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Quite a number of teenage boys and girls have sailed with their fathers and mothers, including Tasmanian Ken Gourlay’s 14-year-old son who sailed on Kismet in 1957. A 12-year-old boy, Travis Foley, sailed in the fatal 1998 race aboard Aspect Computing, which won PHS overall.

In 1978, the Brooker family sailed aboard their yacht Touchwood – parents Doug and Val and their children, Peter (13), Jacqueline (10), Kathryne (8) and Donald (6). Since 1999, the CYCA has set an age limit of 18 for competitors

Jane (‘Jenny’) Tate, from Hobart, sailed with her husband Horrie aboard Active in the 1946 Race, as did Dagmar O’Brien with her husband, Dr Brian (‘Mick’) O’Brien aboard Connella. Unfortunately, Connella was forced to retire in Bass Strait, but Active made it to the finish. The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is presented each year to the first female skipper to finish the race

In 2019, Bill Barry-Cotter brought Katwinchar, built in 1904, back to the start line. She had competed with a previous owner in 1951. It is believed she is the oldest yacht to compete. According to CYCA life member and historian Alan Campbell, more than 31 yachts built before 1938 have competed in the race, including line honours winners Morna/Kurrewa IV (the same boat, renamed) and Astor, which were built in the 1920s.

Bruce Farr/Farr Yacht Design (NZL/USA) – can claim 20 overall wins from 1976 (with Piccolo) up to and including 2015 (with Balance)

Screw Loose (1979) – LOA 9.2m (30ft); Zeus II (1981) LOA 9.2m

TKlinger, NSW (1978) – LOA 8.23m (27ft)

Wild Oats XI (2012) – LOA 30.48m (100ft). Wild Oats XI had previously held the record in 2005 when she was 30m (98ft)

©Afloat 2020