Thursday, 14 August 2014

July & August Calendar

July has been a wonderful month for being outside.  Plenty of great weather and long days to plan nice outings.

The IWT Kerry Branch outing to the Blaskets was no exception with a great bright sunny day, great crew and plenty of good company on board we saw many of our both native and visiting wildlife to the south-west shores.  A lovely piece on the day out is in our Branch News section in our newsletter.


August so far has been a great time for viewing juvenile creatures in their natural habitat.  I have been fortunate enough to encounter the most outgoing little bank vole in Killarney National Park recently!  It had no fear of humans and was just sitting by the path side munching on a leaf.  I was amazed at the tiny size with shiny beady little eyes and rather large teeth!  The place where I met him was ideal for bank voles with plenty of leafy undergrowth and hiding places in roots of trees.  They are omnivorous, dining on nuts, seeds, fruit, worms, snails and larvae, and will gorge on blackberries once they ripen.

 These evenings are the best to see bats, there are hundreds of them flying about at twilight feeding on unsuspecting moths.  Such a pleasure to watch their acrobatics.  I remember once finding a bat in Ballyseedy on a driveway, it was alive but barely moving.  I know that bats should not really be handled but if I didnt pick this guy up he would be run over.  I wrapped my scarf over him to warm him up.  It wasnt long before there was plenty of chat coming from under the scarf and I peeked in to see a lovely bright eyed little bat with a great row of pointy teeth making wonderful sounds,  once I was happy that his wings werent damaged I hooked him onto the nearest ivy covered tree and he rappelled his way up all the time keeping one eye on me!  I am sure it was a pipistrelle, which is in many of our gardens.  If you see an injured bat please call your local NPWS ranger or Bat Conservation Ireland(086 4049468) for advice.
Have you been down the shore lately?  Apparently this year is a record year for vast and very different types of jelly fish to visit our shores.  There have been record sizes of Compass jellyfish and two Portuguese Man o War were found on a beach in Waterford.  The Barrel jellyfish is another one that has been spotted off our coasts in large numbers and it creates a pink hue to the water in these numbers.  The Ecojel Project is ongoing with a function on their website to submit jelly fish sightings whether in the water or on the shore. There is a page listing the types of jellyfish found so far in our waters so you can compare your find and then upload your sighting.  Give it a go.

If you are interested in growing native plants in your garden now is the time to collect seed.  The tree seed is obvious and they are usually a good size like the sycamore.  Many are hidden in fruit and have a hard nutty type seed to them like the Rowan.  I personally wont be inviting briars or brambles into my garden but the hedgerow is just right for it!  
Wild flowers are ready to release their seed now too.  Take a paper bag with you and place it over the head of the seed case you want to collect, you can shake the seed head and empty it into the bag or snip the entire head off and collect that way.   You can plant them straight away after collecting if you wish - scatter them in the preferred growing area in the same way as the breeze might have. Alternatively seeds will overwinter very well in the paper bag if kept dry.

The autumn heathers will be making a splash of colour soon in our heathland and bogs.  Do be sure to join us on our Bog Walk on the 24th of August, details to follow on our Facebook page.

Here's another encounter of the bird kind!

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