Over the years, a number of attempts have been made, by teams of three or four observers, to see as many species as possible in Co Waterford in one day. The first serious attempts were made in the early 1990s, as part of the "New Year Bird Race" organized nationally by the Irish Wildbird Conservancy (now BirdWatch Ireland) during 1992-1994, to raise funds towards bird conservation. The most recent attempt was made by two teams on 29 December 2004. The basic rule is that, to be 'counted', a species must be seen or heard by at least three members of each team within a single county. Summaries are provided below for the January 1992, January 1993, December 2004 and March 2008 races in Co Waterford, and incomplete details for January 1994; details for January 2007 (and other dates?) have not yet been added.
Further details, dates and species-lists will be added later, if possible - any observers with details are requested to email summaries, corrections, totals or full lists. The highest Waterford day-total noted below is 105 species by one team on 2 January 1993 - is this (still) the Waterford record?
Although comprehensive listings of day-totals for Irish counties are not available, Waterford is apparently quite highly-ranked for January totals. But Wexford is apparently still the top county for January (maximum team-total at least 119 species). The longest-runing bird race has been held annually in January at Great Island, Co Cork, and the team record is at least 104 species.
A Waterford day-total in late April or early May could exceed 110 species without too much difficulty - this may be attempted in 2005.
Updated March 2008
4 January 1992
Three teams participated in Co Waterford - two teams of 4 observers, mainly from west Waterford, and a team of 3 from east Waterford or south Kilkenny. In total, 110 species were recorded by the three teams combined. The winning team, from west Waterford (John Power et al), recorded 98 species (3 observers, or 97 by 4 observers); the other west Waterford team (John Joe Cahill et al) had 97 species (with one additional species seen by a single observer), while the east Waterford team (Adrian Allen, Seamus Joy & Paul Walsh) had 94 species. (Of the latter, 93 were within 10 miles of Waterford city.) Some of the highlights of the day were Barn Owl, Velvet Scoters, Slavonian Grebe, Ring-billed Gull, Glaucous Gull (at three locations), Green Sandpiper and Kingfisher. Summary by Adrian Allen/Paul Walsh.
2 January 1993
Again there were three teams, this time all of 4 observers each, two from west Waterford (mainly) and one from east Waterford/south Kilkenny. Overall 115 species were recorded. The winning team (JoP et al) had 105 species, beating the previous national January record (102) set in Co Wexford the previous year [since beaten by a January total of at least 119 in Wexford]. As in 1992, the other west Waterford team (JJC et al) was runner-up with 97 species; the east Waterford team (AA, SJ, PMW & Richard Walsh) had 95 species. Highlights included Little Egret, Barnacle & Pink-footed Goose (both at Coolfin), Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Common & Green Sandpiper, Iceland & Ring-billed Gull, Barn & Long-eared Owl, Black Redstart, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. Summary by Adrian Allen/Paul Walsh.
1 January 1994
Full details have not been compiled yet (buried in old notebooks), but 98 species were recorded by at least 3 members of the"east Waterford" team (AA, Richard O'Keeffe, PMW & RW) included Ruddy Duck at Belle Lake, Chiffchaff at Woodstown Bog, Merlin & Lapland Bunting at Brownstown Head, Blackcap & Black Redstart at Tramore pier, Ring-billed Gull at Tramore boating lake, Long-tailed Duck at Tramore Backstrand, and Long-tailed Duck & Velvet Scoter at Dungarvan. In addition, an Eider was seen at Tramore Bay (by 2 observers). Summary by Paul Walsh.
29 December 2004
Two teams (one of 3, one of 4 observers) took part - Colum Flynn, Fran O'Connell & Bernadette Sheridan; and John Power, Declan Clarke, Mick Cowming & Anne Quinn. The race went well for both teams until about 2 pm. Not many more species were added after that, and "disappointing" end-of-day totals were 99 and 89 for CF and JoP teams, respectively. Some "spectacularly easy" birds were missed (including Fulmar, Skylark & Redpoll), but highlights included 2 Water Pipits at Kilmeaden, Black-throated Diver off Helvick, Carrion Crow at Dungarvan, 2 Pink-footed Geese near Coolfin, Long-tailed Duck at Bonmahon, Whimbrel at Clonea and Goosander at Dungarvan. Click here for full species lists. Summary by Colum Flynn & John Power.
January 2007 - to be added
22 March 2008 - click here for details
January 2013 - to be added
27 April 2013 - details here