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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saleens walk

Thanks to Dennis for the two pictures from the walk today from the Saleens to Brownstown Head.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Irish forests under threat

The Irish Government is moving closer to a huge sell-off of the public forests managed by Coillte (The Irish Forestry Board) to private investors. An area greater than 1 million acres, equivalent to two medium sized counties will be lost forever. This will include some of our most valuable native woodlands, wild places and some of the last refuges of our native flora and fauna. Ireland is the least forested country in Europe with only 8% of the landmass under forest and much of this is non-native species. Our remaining forests are of paramount importance to our limited and dwindling wild species of both plants and animals and they need your support.

Please follow the link and sign the petition.

Please also forward the link to friends, family and colleagues and share it on social network sites.

Many thanks.

Portally Cove at it's best

Some pix taken at Portally Cove last weekend.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wildlife and winter weather

Many people have contacted us with concerns about wildlife during the recent cold snap, to know how wild animals and birds are coping with the cold conditions and how they can help wildlife.
The reality is that there are and have been impacts on birds, resident and migratory and many of the impacts won't be fully realised until spring when numbers of young may be reduced. It is also true that all of our native wildlife is adapted to cold weather, such as thicker coats in winter time, e.g. deer or hibernation e.g. hedgehogs. However, wild animals, birds and insects need habitat / cover to hibernate/nest/forage in, so we humans can help by leaving as much habitat as possible, especially linking habitat such as hedgerows, rivers and streams. This means that there is plenty of cover for wildlife , and importantly, that wildlife can move about safely between feeding and breeding grounds. Without "linkages" such as hedgerows and linear woodlands, animals can be left isolated on "islands" without sufficient food.
These are the things we need to consider when building roads etc, which deplete the habitat available to other species

Another way in which we can help is by having wildlife-friendly gardens with logpiles, leafpiles, areas of longer grass and undisturbed corners for small mammals and insects to shelter/over-winter/nest in. Plenty of trees provide protection and shelter, and native trees in particular are a good source of food, e.g.holly, hawthorn.
Waterbirds such as duck, geese, swans and waders such as oystercatchers are affected by lack of access to open water.
Garden birds can be helped by giving water and food - provide seed and nut food, moist bread, mealworms, apples, cheese and fat from meat etc. Do not put out dry porridge or rice as it affects their digestion. A water-bath is essential for birds for drinking and bathing. Keep it frost free in the mornings. And remember, if you start to feed birds, keep it up - they will come to depend on your garden/food supply!

Frogs hibernating in ponds will suffocate unless water kept ice-free. A labour-saving way to do this is to leave an old football floating on the surface and simply remove it when ice forms.

Deer are apparently suffering adverse effects in Scotland as they come down from highlands and come into closer contact with humans / cars etc. In Scandinavia, they use railroads to travel along, so the potential for fatalities is high.

If you have any tips for caring for wildlife, we would love to see them posted on this blog, so get in touch

The picture above is from Birds and Bloom...a useful website on this and other issues.
Thanks to Marie for the words of wisdom!