Pallid Harrier, Power Head, Co. Cork. 12 November 2011
(Ciaran Cronin, www.wildeye.ie)
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 2012 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 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 Colum Clarke and shows a view over Broad Lough looking southwest towards Wicklow Town in the distance. The lough is a long, narrow, brackish and mostly tidal estuary; just three miles in length and covering an area of about two acres. It is separated from the Irish Sea to the east by a narrow spit of low-lying land known as The Murrough that carries the Dublin to Wexford railway. The estuary is formed by the Vartry River flowing in from the west on its way to the sea at Wicklow Harbour. Broad Lough is part of a much larger east coast wetland complex that extends from south of Greystones and includes Kilcoole and Blackditch Nature Reserve among others. The area surrounding the Lough comprises a variety of coastal habitats including saltmarsh, reedbed, wet and marshy grassland, scrub, exposed mudflats, tidal channels at low water and parkland around Tinakilly House Hotel, which can be seen on the far bank between the trees. Broad Lough has proved to be a favourite stopping off spot for migrating Ospreys over the years and Little Egrets have bred in the vicinity. To date it has added Ruddy Shelduck to the Irish List and recorded such rarities as American Wigeon, Smew, Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Red-necked Grebe, Hobby, Avocet, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Forster's Tern, Bearded Tit and Water Pipit, while nearby Wicklow Harbour has had Franklin's Gull.
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.