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Woodchat Shrike, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork. 22 April 2011
(Ciaran Cronin,

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 2014 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 Rare Birds Committee (NIRBC) 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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August Banner

This month's banner image was taken by Mark Carmody and shows a view of Galley Head and its Lighthouse looking southeast from Long Strand just east of Owenahincha. The lighthouse was constructed in the 1870s and is located on Dundeady Island, connected to the headland by an isthmus. Situated in west Cork between Clonakilty and Rosscarbery, the headland projects far out in the Atlantic, making it an ideal location for sea-watching. Further back is a mixture of farmland, gardens, hedgerows, sandy beaches and coves that often attract migrants. Towards the western side of the headland is Kilkerran Lake, a small freshwater lake where the first Cattle Egret for Ireland was found in March 1976. To date the area has added Sandhill Crane and Philidelphia Vireo to the Western Palearctic List and Cattle Egret and Hermit Thrush to the Irish List. In addition, it has recorded such rarities as Wilson's Storm-petrel, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Black Kite, Crane, Laughing Gull, Wryneck, Hobby, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Greenish Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Barred Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Swainson's Thrush, Bluethroat, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Stonechat, Desert Wheatear, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Richard's Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Serin, Ortolan Bunting, American Redstart and Little Bunting.

What's New - August 2016

1. The most recent Provisional List available is to July 2016. Please note that from January 2016 the monthly Provisional List will be available as a PDF only.
2. Updated Reference Lists for Harriers is available through the Gallery Notes page.
3. New finder's accounts of the first Irish records of Lesser Sand Plover and Hume's Warbler as well as the second Irish record of White-throated Sparrow are available through the Gallery Notes page.

Appendix Lists

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

BirdWatch Ireland is the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland dedicated to protecting Ireland’s birds and biodiversity.

BirdWatch Ireland