Monday, 30 June 2014

June 7th & 15th Trip to Ireland's Eye

As in previous years, the Dublin Branch of IWT held two trips to Ireland's Eye off Howth. As usual, this year’s two trips (both booked out) were a real adventure. When we got there, the cow parsley was so high that we could have done with machetes. People lolling on the beach stared in wonder as the group emerged from the undergrowth. Gulls and gannets flew around warning us to stay away from the chicks, and to top it all, three peregrine falcon chicks sat like three Musketeers at the very peak of the Stack. Every so often one would fly up but was immediately “buzzed off” by the gulls. An amazing day out both times. Heartfelt thanks to our leaders Conn Flynn and John Fox. Roll on next year!


An oystercatcher happy in the sun

Careful - mind my eggs!

A graceful gannet

More gannets perching perilously
On the beach Conn shows the way

Through the cow parsley

Wow! A clear view at last

Monday, 9 June 2014

3rd June Green Drinks - Misunderstood Moths

On Tuesday 3rd June the Irish Wildlife Trust Dublin Branch gathered in JW Sweetmans to hear Catherine Bertrand of Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland discuss moths, one of the most misunderstood creatures in our backyards.

Moths to many of us as small, brown, boring, jumper-munching pests. Come along to find out just how marvellous moths are, how many hundreds of species surround us and the strange and unique roles they play in our ecosystem. Do you know your Brimstone from your Brimstone moth? Your Swallow-tail from your Swallow-tailed? Catherine filled in the audience about how moths come in all shapes, sizes and colours, from the spectacular Elephant Hawkmoth in shades of brown and purple to the black and red cinnabar moth, with its black and yellow striped caterpillars. Contrary to popular belief, many moths fly in the daytime and can be seen in our gardens and meadows.

Altogether moths are far more interesting than most people think, and you can see some of the wide variety of our native moths with the  following link to a leaflet produced by Butterfly Conservation NI


May 25th Bull Island Biodiversity Walk

On Sunday May 25th to celebrate Biodiversity Week 2014, (the theme of which is islands), IWT Dublin Branch had a walk on Bull Island to look at some of the diversity of creatures to be found in Dublin City's own UNESCO biosphere reserve. The walk was lead by Niall Mac Coitir and a variety of wildlife was found. There were wild flowers such as dove's foot cranesbill, and early purple orchid, and there were also birds such as meadow pipits and especially skylarks which put on a fine display with their singing.

Above all there were lots of creepy crawlies. The group saw the brightly coloured caterpillars of the white satin and yellow tail moths feeding on some of the native willow trees on the island, and the bright green beetle psilothrix cyaneus feeding on some oxford ragwort. A small pond along the way also revealed tadpoles, mayfly larvae, and whirligig and diving beetles. The walk ended with a short stretch along the seahore where some common seashells such as mussels, limpets, barnacles, razorshells and cockles were found. All in all a great example of biodiversity was on display!

Checking out the creepy crawlies on the native willow trees

A young IWT member holding a 'hairy Molly'
or 'Woolly Bear' caterpillar of the Tiger Moth

Looking at some wild flowers right beneath our feet