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Issue 31, April 2012
BIRDWATCH IRELAND eWINGS
Welcome to the April 2012 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
I'd like to start with a big thank you to all of the BirdWatch Ireland members and supporters who have helped us to reach a very important milestone: we have just passed the remarkable total of 5,000 fans on the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page!

It is great, of course, that so many people have chosen to click on a button to say that they like our page, but that's only a first step. Much more encouraging is the astonishing level of activity that we see on the page on a daily basis. It has been very gratifying for us to see the page grow into such a popular online resource for people who love Ireland's birds and/or are concerned about wildlife conservation: the number of photos, queries, tips, conversations and events added each day has made it one of the busiest Facebook pages of any Irish charity.

The page is also the home of our daily Whoami mystery bird quiz - a fantastic way to improve you bird i.d. skills - and offers the perfect forum to connect with like-minded nature-lovers. So,if you haven't already done so and don't want to miss out any longer, please become a fan of the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page today and join the ranks of our 5,000 fans: you'll be in very good company.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
ARTICLES
Put a nice morning walk to good use!
The Countryside Bird Survey has kicked off again for the 15th year. Hundreds of volunteers and NPWS rangers across the country have already started their early morning counts. Thanks to an enthusiastic response to our call for new recruits and good attendances at a series of CBS workshops around the country, the uptake of survey squares this year has been good. But there is still time to sign up for this important survey - there may be a square near you which needs covering.

Hurry, though - the first count should be carried out on or before 15th May (with the second visit to be done between 15th May and 30th June). All you need are reasonable ID skills by sight and sound and lots of enthusiasm!
Read more about how the Countryside Bird Survey works and see if you can help
Don't forget to record your first Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos
Migration for some birds seems to have been a little slow this year, but most are now well on their way. Please don't forget that we need all of our eWings readers to keep an eye out for their first Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos of the year, and then log them via our Spring Alive website. There, you can also learn more about these remarkable global travellers and track their arrival. The project is ideal for children and teachers, and right now people all over Europe and Africa are taking part, so please spread the word far and wide: we need as many records as possible . . . including yours!

By the way, if you'd like to learn more about Spring Alive, you should check out our own Jamie Durrant's recent appearance on RTÉ kids' show elev8, which is available to watch online on the RTÉ Player until 25th April. Nice one, Jamie!
Take a look at our Spring Alive website (and don't forget to add your own observations)
Bird Habitats in Ireland: a new book and one-day symposium
What do we know about our bird habitats? Are they in good condition? What are the key habitat factors that make Ireland's wetlands and coasts so important for migrant wildfowl, waders and seabirds? All of these questions and many more are explored in a new book, Bird Habitats in Ireland, edited by Richard Nairn and John O'Halloran.

The results of the research will be presented at a unique one-day symposium hosted by the RDS, Dublin, on 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.
Click for more details on the symposium, including a full programme and booking details
Join us at Bloom 2012 in the Phoenix Park
Bloom, Ireland's largest gardening, food and family event, will be taking place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from Thursday 31st May to Monday 4th June. BirdWatch Ireland will be running both an educational marquee for children and an information and membership recruitment stand. We have also arranged a discount for all eWings readers who book their tickets in advance using the link below: if you book online and enter our special promotional code BIRD12 you will save €7 compared to the gate price.
Book in advance for Bloom 2012 and avail of your eWings discount by using code BIRD12
Mooney show NestWatch 2012
Have you tuned in to watch Derek Mooney's Blue Tit's yet? BirdWatch Ireland is proud to be the official conservation partner of NestWatch 2012 on RTÉ Radio One's Mooney show, and it promises to make for a captivating few weeks. Watch Derek's online camera stream live from a busy Blue Tit nestbox in the magnificent grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin and follow the trials and tribulations of this fledgling family: reality TV at its best!
Log on to the Mooney show's NestWatch 2012 stream and follow all the action live
Wonderful Wildlife Photography Course - May 2012
Thanks to digital cameras, photographing birds has never been easier! Even inexpensive equipment can capture far superior images than was possible just a few years ago, when film was the only option: a quick look at BirdWatch Ireland's Facebook page will show how many wildlife photography enthusiasts there are out there.

BirdWatch Ireland is running an Introduction to Digital Wildlife Photography Course by award-winning wildlife photographer John Murphy from 14th to 18th May 2012 on Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork. It is suitable for people of all levels of experience, provided that they can bring their own camera.

After an introduction to cover basic photographic skills and techniques, equipment, editing software, etc., the participants will head out with John to photograph as many wildlife and landscape scenes as possible. They will learn to photograph birds both in the hand and in the field, and a session covering landscape and light will teach participants how best to frame landscapes with wildlife included. Subject to suitable weather conditions, a boat trip around Fastnet is also planned to photograph the lighthouse and seabirds at sea.

The rich and varied biodiversity of the island's bogs and stone wall-lined lanes are perfect for exploration with a camera, and the island boasts a rocky coastline that is ideal for capturing seascapes and life in rock pools. We expect to have a lively finish to the course with a competition to find the best portfolio of the week.

Last year this course was booked out, so book now to ensure your place on one of our most popular and successful courses ever!
Click for details of BirdWatch Ireland's full 2012 programme of courses on stunning Cape Clear Island
FINALLY...
The most popular event in the Birdwatch Ireland calendar is without doubt our National Dawn Chorus Day, which this year will be taking place on Sunday 20th May. BirdWatch Ireland's Branches around the country will be holding dozens of early morning dawn chorus walks and other birdsong events on and around this date: more details will be announced in next month's edition of eWings and in the Summer 2012 issue of Wings, our quarterly print magazine, which is due to be posted out shortly to our members.

Indeed, the only way to receive Wings magazine is to join BirdWatch Ireland as a member. As well as the magazine, you get a great membership pack and gift, the opportunity to take part in hundreds of local events and access to our nature reserves. Family members also receive our special kids' magazine, Bird Detectives. By joining, you will be helping to fund our vital conservation work: as a charity, your support is absolutely crucial for us.

Good Bird Watching,
Oran O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer, BirdWatch Ireland
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Kilcoole
Co. Wicklow
Tel: ( 353)-(0)1-2819878
Email: info@birdwatchireland.ie

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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