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Monday, 7 December 2009

Eric Dempsey ceases updating of BINS Information line after 20 years

The BINS line was established in the summer of 1990 and began providing the news service for IRELAND on 1st August 1990. The concept behind the line was to make accurate bird news more widely available to all birders rather than have such news confined to a small elite group as was the case in the 1980's and in early 1990. I hope that in the time since then, I have achieved that. Of course it was also done with the aim that it would pay for itself and perhaps generate some profit.

This autumn (2009) marked my 20th autumn running the line. In those many years I have established some great relationships with birders from all over Ireland and Britain. I have also experienced some wonderful moments; there really is nothing quite like the buzz when you get a call from a birder who is skilled enough/lucky enough to come across a mega. Many of those conversations are etched on my mind and will stay with me for as long as I live (or until dementia sets in anyway!). Knowing that I was about to update with a 'BINS Red Alert' was always a moment to savour.

Since the bird information line began on 1st August 1990, the 9.30 pm update has been done every single night with the exception of two occasions when it was impossible due to technical problems/cable faults. It is also worth remembering that until the mid-1990's, no-one had mobile phones, so the updates were often achieved utilising various phone boxes around the country. The first time BINS was updated using a mobile phone was on 14th September 1996 with the headline being a Greenish Warbler in Killian Mullarney's back garden.

In recent years my birding has taken a totally new direction. With an emphasis on guiding, educational work, writing and broadcasting, the aspect of rare birds has very much taken a back seat for me. With continued developments in this work, the time and commitment required to maintain the BINS line is now no longer a viable option for me. Therefore I wish to announce that from Wednesday 9th December next, the BINS Information line will cease. The last update will take place at 9.30 pm that night.

I would like to thank everyone for their support during the past 19 years. I would specifically like to thank Victor Caschera who maintained the BINS line on a number of occasions in the 1990's and Paul Kelly who has taken on the line many times over the past ten years, sometimes at very short notice. I am very grateful to you both.

With a change in direction, our website will also be redesigned over the next few months to draw attention to the varying services and work BINS undertakes. It will also feature a wider selection of Michael O'Clery's artwork as well as a new photographic gallery displaying our own images. With the emphasis now shifting from rare birds, I would also like to announce that our current December Gallery will be the last that will feature images of rare birds from photographers. With so many superb photographers now hosting their own websites, as well as various Birdwatch Ireland branches displaying images from their own local areas, many of the photographs displayed in our galleries were already in the public forum. I would like to thank all the talented photographers who, over the years, have shared their images with so many people through our website.

All that remains for me is to say that I look forward to great birding ahead and to thank each and every person who has supported this venture over the years. I do look forward to keeping in touch with you all, Regards, Eric Dempsey, BINS, www.birdsireland.com