In February 2015 Mark Carmody accepted an invitation to join the IRBC as Secretary, so bringing his considerable know-how and personality to the role. Sadly it soon became obvious that ever increasing demands at his work meant he had less time to attend to IRBC matters. He eventually came to the conclusion that, however reluctantly, he would have to step down and did so in September 2015. In his short time on the Committee, Mark amply demonstrated that he would have been a great success as Secretary, and although we fully understood his decision, we were very sorry to see him go and thank him for his services.
Since the formation of the IRBC in 1971 the position of Secretary has always been undertaken by a single individual whose main tasks were compiling and circulating rare bird descriptions for assessment and writing the rare bird report. Several potential candidates were approached to replace Mark, but none felt they could devote the time needed to undertake the job properly and declined the invitation. This prompted us to consider making changes to the Secretary job, and in particular to examine if there was some way to reduce the workload. As a result the Committee decided to divide the Secretary’s duties between two new positions, namely:
- Batch Manager † - who undertakes collating and circulation of rare bird descriptions among the committee.
- Report Writer - who edits the Rare Bird Report.
Following Mark's retirement and the decision to split the Secretary's job the Committee went looking for a person suitably qualified to take on the role of Report Writer. Early on in the process Colin Barton's name was suggested and it quickly became apparent that he would be eminently qualified for the role.
Colin, who lives at Galley Head in Cork is well practiced at report writing for his work as an ecologist. In addition, he was co-editor of the 1996-2004 and 2005-2006 Cork Bird Reports. Colin is well connected with the Cork birding scene through operating the Cork Bird News Twitter service and has found a number of rare birds on his doorstep including multiple Fea's type Petrels, Black-headed Bunting, Western Bonelli's Warbler and Marsh Warbler.
The committee welcomes Colin on board and would like to take this opportunity to express it's deep gratitude to Joe Hobbs who stepped in as editor of two Irish Rare Bird Reports, first to ease Mark's workload with the 2014 report and then as sole editor of the 2015 report. Since then he has continued in a temporary capacity as Batch Manager and will soon return to his role as IRBC Webmaster.
We also welcome Mícheál Cowming as a new voting member with immediate effect. Mícheál is a very active birder, mainly in his home county of Waterford, but also throughout Ireland and abroad. His keen eye for detail will be a considerable asset to the Committee.
† The title 'Batch Manager' has been subsequently amended to Batch Secretary.