Monday, 3 April 2017

26th March - Birdwatching at Irishtown Nature Reserve and Poolbeg lighthouse

On Sunday 26th March the Dublin Branch went birdwatching in Irishtown Nature Reserve and walked out to Poolbeg lighthouse. John Fox was our guide, and with his sharp eyes we identified many birds including brent geese, cormorants, turnstones, herring gulls and various waders such as redshanks. Most of the waders had gone at this time of year, but we were compensated by the glorious weather which made it such a pleasant day out. Highlight of the day for some of us was seeing the peregrines nesting on the Poolbeg towers!

Monday, 6 March 2017

26th February - Visit to The Murrough, Co. Wicklow

On Sunday the 26th of February a group of some 40 people went for a walk just outside Wicklow town. Even though the weather was challenging, we made our way up the coastal walk. The erosion was striking, with nearly a football pitch washed away in the last 20 years. After a bit of a walk we crossed the Dublin rail line and went into the Murrough. Unfortunately, between the wind and the high tide, all the pathways were under water. The area is unusual for its flora, with a mixture of seawater and fresh water plants. The area is also rich in wild fowl and is really worth a visit.  There is also a cliff walk going south from the black castle to the lighthouse. Anyone who is interested to know more can look up the Friends of the Murrough face book page.

Monday, 13 February 2017

February 7th Green Drinks - Common Sense and the Common Fisheries Policy

In February Green Drinks Dublin heard Edward Fahy of talk about the EU's Common Fisheries Policy and the effect it is having on our Fish Stocks. Edward explained to us how fish quotas are regularly being assigned at higher than sustainable levels for political reasons. This is to suit the big fishing interests who dominate the fishing industry, and squeezes out smaller fishermen. As a result fish stocks are falling all across Europe.

However, creating sustainable fishing is complicated and not an easy matter to achieve. For instance, the well meaning policy of banning fishing discards now means that there is a market for non quota fish, and is actually encouraging the production of more 'discards' than previously existed. The current model of fisheries in Europe cannot continue, and will result in collapse in fish stocks, like cod in Newfoundland, if change does not occur. Ed was pessimistic that change will happen in time to prevent this, as progress is too slow. Altogether a sobering talk that brought home how short sighted our society is when it comes to managing nature.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

January 15th Bull Island Bird Watching

On Sunday January 15th last, Dublin Branch went bird watching on Bull Island, led by the ever knowledgeable John Fox. There was a good turnout, and the weather was reasonable for January. As always on the Bull, a great variety of birds were seen. Some of them as per John were; black-tailed and bar-tailed godwits, shoveler, lapwing, shelduck, oyster catcher, little egret, grey heron, wigeon, teal, great black backed gull, mute swan, brent geese, grey plover and golden plover. An informative and enjoyable morning was had by all! Photos courtesy of CiarĂ¡n.

Monday, 24 October 2016

October 8th Dodder Walk

On Saturday October 8th the Dublin Branch went on 90 minute River Dodder guided walk by Kevin Flood, meeting at the iron bridge on the Dodder opposite Donnybrook Bus garage, Beaver row, Donnybrook. Highlights included lots of wildlife, the Dartry dye works, an original tram depot, Famine plinth, Classon’s bridge,... original Dublin laundry chimney, remains of old water mills and river diversions, and lots more. There was a good turn out, and the weather was perfect for walking. All in all a great day was had. Thanks to Brendan for photos.

Monday, 18 July 2016

July 9th - Bull Island Wildflower walk

On Saturday 9th July, the Dublin Branch went on its by now annual walk to Bull Island to see the amazing variety of wildflowers that can be seen there at this time of year. The day was lovely and warm, and led by Niall Mac Coitir, those attending saw at least twenty different kinds of wildflowers . As well as many members of the pea family, such as restharrow, bird's foot trefoil, kidney vetch, and common vetch (which can thrive in the poor, sandy soil), and the sweet smelling ladies bedstraw, the group saw no less than five different species of orchid.

The orchids encountered were pyramidal orchid, common spotted orchid, some last surviving early purple orchid, marsh helleborine, and in a first for the Bull Island walks, - the beautiful and elusive bee orchid!

Truly a day to remember.

pyramidal orchid

Marsh helleborine

bee orchid

Yellow rattle

July 5th - Green Drinks: "What can be done to keep the bee"

This July the Dublin Branch gathered to hear Kieran Flood, IWT Conservation Officer talking about the important issue of the threats facing our pollinating insects, especially bees, and asking the question: "What can be done to keep the bee?

According to Kieran, bee numbers have been declining in Ireland, Europe and beyond, due to loss of habitat and insecticides. This is a matter of major concern as so many of our plants cannot bear fruit unless they are pollinated, including many important food crops. There is an attempt to tackle this problem with an All Ireland Pollinator Plan - an island wide plan to help protect our bees.

Kieran outlined that while the honey bee is important in pollination, the bumblebee also plays a vital role in the pollination of many wild flowers. The talk then delved a little deeper into the wonderful world of Irish bumblebees, of which there are twenty species in Ireland! Kieran went through some of the more common species, which can be distinguished by their distinctive markings - as shown in the handy diagrams below.