Red-throated Pipit, Ballycotton, Co. Cork. 14 November 2009
(Paul and Andrea Kelly, www.irishbirdimages.com)
Irish Rare Birds Committee
The Irish Rare Birds Committee (IRBC) is responsible for maintaining a list of the birds recorded in the Republic of Ireland and in addition the inshore waters up to 30km from the nearest land or where relevant, the median point between Ireland and Great Britain. So-called ’at sea’ records, i.e. records of birds outside this 30 km limit but still within the Exclusive Economic Zone which extends to approximately 370 km (200 nautical miles) offshore or where relevant, the median point between Ireland and Great Britain are assessed and published by the IRBC in the Irish Rare Bird Report (IRBR), but are excluded from the main list.
The primary function of the IRBC is the assessment of records of certain rare and scarce species. From 2004 the results are published annually in the IRBR and previously in the Irish Bird Report (IBR) from 1953 to 2003. The most recent is the 2011 report, which along with others is available for download through this website as PDFs. In addition the IRBR is included in Irish Birds, which is published by BirdWatch Ireland. Irish Birds is available from Wings, the BirdWatch Ireland online shop.
Beginning with the 2005 IRBR, the IRBC changed its method of record submission and assessment. Generally speaking many regularly occurring and apparently seldom misidentified rarities no longer require formal documentation (although there may be occasional exceptions). The full list of species affected are included in Appendix 2. Those species which continue to require formal documentation are listed in Appendix 1. For a full account of the background and reasons behind these changes click here.
The Committee, whose members work in an honorary capacity, operates under the auspices of BirdWatch Ireland. The Committee's current membership is listed here. For a short background to its origins as well as the all time list of its members click here.
The Northern Ireland Birdwatchers' Association Rarities Committee (NIBARC) performs a similar role in Northern Ireland and the two committees work together to maintain a comprehensive record of birds found on the island of Ireland.
This month's banner image was taken by Stephen McAvoy and shows a view of the Visitor Centre with its Tower Hide on the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve just outside Wexford town. The Visitor Centre includes an interpretative display area depicting the lives of geese as well as showing short films about the work carried out by the wardens. The reserve covers just under 500 acres of the North Slob (the rest is privately owned farmland), which is about 2,000 acres of land that was reclaimed from the sea in the 19th century. It is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and is jointly owned by BirdWatch Ireland and the NPWS. It is a wintering ground for many migratory waterfowl, especially the Greenland White-fronted Goose and it is estimated about one third of their world population spend the winter there. The North Slob is designated as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention and is part of the Wexford Harbour Special Protection Area under the EU Bird's Directive. To date it has added Lesser White-fronted Goose, Western Sandpiper, Paddyfield Warbler, Isabelline Shrike and Pine Bunting to the Irish List as well as recording such rarities as Tundra Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Snow Goose, American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Scaup, Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Montagu’s Harrier, Crane, Little Ringed Plover, Temminck's Stint, Stilt Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Alpine Swift, Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Great-grey Shrike and Woodchat Shrike.
2005 Revised Rarity List with subsequent updates (Appendix 1), click here.
2005 Supplementary Accreditation Species with subsequent updates (Appendix 2), click here.
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BirdWatch Ireland is the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland dedicated to protecting Ireland’s birds and biodiversity.