Monday, 9 November 2015

Deer Rut in Killarney National Park

Sunday 18th October Deer Rut in Killarney National Park

Sean O'Callaghan providing great insight and knowledge to reward everyone who got up so early on a Sunday morning.

Below is  small collection of pictures from the event.

An early start

Taking control and showing whose boss
In the first picture bellowing, followed by intimidation

The tips of the antlers showing signs of wear and tear

Taking a break

Male and female; showing the stark contrast between them in the breeding season (Rut)

Some of the other sights:also seen was a red squirrel

Horse Chestnut
Sweet Chestnut

Long Tailed Tit
Another sighting closely related to the annual rut

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

"Don't Die in Autumn"

Thursday 8th October "Don't Die in Autumn"

Eric Dempsey's talk and book signing on the 8th was hugely successful, with a great turnout and a really enjoyable evening.  Eric as always was a very entertaining speaker, and he left with his load of books considerably lighter than when he arrived.

An interesting title selection by Eric, with its own amusing backstory....which will leave people to find in the book itself.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

In Search of Lizards and Other Strange Creatures

We set off at 10:30am in the morning into the hills of Tonevane just outside Blennerville, Co. Kerry. The pathway we take to the right brings you along part of the Dingle Way (also known as the Kerry Camino) but we veer left up into the hills and back across a small valley with a mountain stream at the bottom of it.
At first we encounter Bumble Bees and lots of Hover Flies that look a little like bees as they fly by. It quickly becomes apparent that this area is also home to the dreaded biting insect the Midge and with little or no breeze we are very quickly surrounded. We have to create our own breeze so we move on briskly to avoid being bitten.
Now today we are searching for Lizards (who eat insects) and other strange creatures and there is a big clue to the other creature we are looking for and that is lots of horse dung. Dung Beetles can be found around this area too as lots of horses graze these hills from the local equestrian centre. So not only are found in Africa, these creatures roll up a ball of dung lay an egg in it and bury it. Unfortunately we don't see any on our trip today and I think we may be a little to late in the season as they have been and gone until next spring I guess.
So as we continue along the pathway back down towards the valley mountain stream (followed by the midges) we come across the carnivorous Butterwort plant that sticky leaves trap and digest insects on (Midges beware!) even an Ant was seen stuck on one of the many plants we saw too. A small Froglet is spotted in this quite damp boggy heathland path as we discover another insectivorous plant, the round-leafed sundew. When a small insect lands on this plant its sticky hairy leaf gradually rolls up the trapped insect and the enzymes breakdown the insect absorbing the nutrients through the leaf. Sphagnum moss bogs of wet acid type habitats on a moorland are its perfect home.  Before the walk I left out some bait of meal worms on trays trying to tempt some lizards out into the open (normally a very shy creature). As we returned back down the pathway towards the car park we arrived to find one tray with a possible sign of Lizard passing straight through it as in a clear line of a dragging tale. So this gave us some hope but still no sign of one yet. We descended off the hill, very near to our finishing point and I checked the last tray of meal worms with no sign of any disturbance, when a shout went up for a Lizard! Just beneath Ger's feet he saw one very briefly as it shot into the grass for cover and disappeared.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Ed's Pelagic

Ed's Pelagic duly set sail from Dingle on the 11th August. The purpose of pelagic trips like these is to find seabirds that rarely, if ever come in to land in Ireland, such as skuas, shearwaters, fulmar and petrels, but also provides the opportunity to explore and enjoy what the full variety of wildlife in the Kerry Seas. The Kerry Birding Blog contains a full account of the avian encounters, some of which in the pictures below as well as few others sights from the day.

Pod of common dolphins

Another pod paying us a visit 

Minke Whale
Juvenile Gannet (4th Year)

Although difficult to catch in this shot can see several Gannets in various stages of diving, as well as a water splash and others taking off from the surface

Some Id fun :-) selection for Identification 


Sooty Shearwater

Arctic Skua

Kittiwake and Pomarine Skua

Herring Gull

Great Skua