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.

No comments:

Post a Comment