Wilson's Phalarope, Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford. 19 September 2010
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 2013 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 annually and 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 Records 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.
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This month's banner image was taken by Dick Coombes. It shows a view on the south side of Dublin Bay from near Merrion Gates looking north. Part of Sandymount Strand can be seen in the foreground with the Poolbeg peninsula behind. To the left is Irishtown and further off some cranes and gantries at Ringsend can be seen. To the right is the South Wall, which extends over a mile out in to Dublin Bay. This sea-wall marks the entrance to the River Liffey and the Port of Dublin. In between, the twin towers of the Poolbeg power station are prominent. Much of south Dublin Bay is less than 10 metres deep and low tide reveals extensive areas of sand, mud and tidal pools where large numbers of geese, waders, gulls, terns etc. congregate at various times of the year. To date the area has added Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Whiskered Tern, American Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern and Forster's Tern to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as Black Brant, Black-necked Grebe, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Sabine's Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Atlantic Gull and American Herring Gull.
The most recent Provisional List available is to November 2015.
For the 2005 Revised Rarity List with subsequent updates (Appendix 1), click here.
For the 2005 Supplementary Accreditation Species with subsequent updates (Appendix 2), click here.
BirdWatch Ireland is the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland dedicated to protecting Ireland’s birds and biodiversity.