Monday, 20 November 2017

18th November Otter Walk

Early on a cold and wet Saturday morning in November, over thirty Dublin Branch members turned out at the Dodder to see if we could see any otters. Led by naturalist Tim Clabon,we spotted no otters, but learnt lots about them, and also saw plenty of birds on the Dodder, among these kingfishers, dippers, long-tailed tits and goldcrests. A worthwhile morning's excursion!

Monday, 13 November 2017

28th October - Creepy Crawly Event Phoenix Park

Armed with sweep nets and pooters a happy bunch of youngsters set off in search of creepy crawlies in Phoenix Park on Saturday, 28 October. IWT member Kevin Delahunty had explained to them what to look for and how to handle the insects, spiders, worms, centipedes, or whatever else they might find in the grass and under logs and stones. Plenty of these ended up in his viewing trays and were marvelled at through magnifying glasses before they were released again.

A truly eerie specimen had ended up in a trap which Kevin had set the night before; this was a devil’s coach-horse beetle. Kevin has a wonderful way of getting the youngsters’ attention and educating them in a playful way. A big thank you from the Dublin Branch is due to him.

22nd October Phoenix Park Deer Rut

Dublin Branch had its annual outing to the Phoenix Park on October 22nd to see the Deer Rut. We had a great turn out with around 60 people showing up, and as usual Favel was on top form. It was very cold though and the wind eventually drove the last few people away at about 1pm. However we saw the stags doing their thing and locking horns to gain the attention of the females.

All in all a great event with lots of positive feedback.

Monday, 9 October 2017

3rd October - Ireland's Groundwater

This month the Dublin Branch of IWT heard Alex Russell (PhD researcher at UCD) give a talk to about groundwater in Ireland. Alex gave a general overview of the quality of groundwater in Ireland (natural water chemistry and geology). In Ireland, up to 25% of drinking water supplies are sourced from groundwater, with a particular importance in rural areas where public supplies are often unavailable. However, in Ireland private wells remain unregulated for quality testing, potentially leading to significant unknown exposures to contaminated waters, including arsenic, which occurs naturally in may parts of Ireland.

Globally groundwater is a finite and precious resource, which is being used up at a far greater rate than it is being replenished. This is yet another unsustainable use of the planet's resources whih will lead to severe water shortages worldwide in the future.

Monday, 28 August 2017

August 26th - rockpooling in Portmarnock

On Saturday August 26th Dublin Branch member Kevin Delahunty led a rockpooling expedition along the coast at Portmarnock, north Co. Dublin to see what kind of creatures could be found. Lots of starfish, shellfish and 'pinkeens' were discovered, and another generation of kids got hooked on the wonders of nature!

Photos courtesy of Brendan

August 19th Walk in Carrickgolloghan Woods

On Saturday 19th August Dublin Branch member Niall Mac Coitir led a walk in Carrickgolloghan Woods near Kiltiernan in the Dublin mountains. Along the way we saw trees like birch, rowan and scots pine, and wildflowers like yarrow and St. Johns wort. The walk included a visit to the chimney of the old lead mine that used to be in the area, and a trip to the viewing point where a spectacular view of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains can be had, and also a great view north to Killiney Hill. The walk finished up just before the rain came down, so all in all a success.

Photos courtesy of Brendan

Monday, 14 August 2017

15th July - Bull Island Wildflower Walk

On Saturday 15th July Dublin Branch member Niall Mac Coitir led a walk to see the amazing wildflowers on the Bull Island. There was a good turnout and the weather was perfect for a walk - nice and warm, but not too sunny. As usual lots of flowers were seen, including four kinds of orchid - common spotted orchid, pyramidal orchid, marsh helleborine ,and twayblade. Among the other flowers spotted were restharrow, ladies bedstraw, tufted vetch, bird's foot trefoil, hare's foot trefoil, yellow rattle and eyebright. So all and all a good day!

Photos courtesy of Brendan

Ladies Bedstraw

Common Spotted Orchid

Marsh Helleborine

Twayblade has an unusual green coloured flower


Monday, 24 July 2017

4th July Green Drinks - Gardening for Wildlife

This month Dublin Green Drinks heard Ricky Whelan of the IWT Laois Offaly Branch give a talk on Gardening With Wildlife In Mind - in other words how to develop any space to be more friendly and inviting to wildlife and wild plants. This could involve habitat creation like having a pond in your garden, or a wild space for the nettles, or it could involve planting pollinator friendly plants, native species.

Ricky gave a very informative talk, full of amusing anecdotes, and stressed how easy it was for even the person with the least knowledge of gardening or tiniest space to contribute to wildlife. Even a window box can be a help! Hopefully  those attending were inspired to go home with a fresh enthusiasm for gardening with wildlife in mind!

Ricky Whelan also works as a Project Officer for BirdWatch Ireland and is heavily involved in the Abbeyleix Bog project in south Laois. 

Ricky showing us a bat box

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

2nd May Green Drinks - Raised Bog Conservation

On Tuesday 2nd May 2017 Green Drinks Dublin heard Dr Maurice Eakin, Senior Wetland Ecologist from the NPWS, talk about the ongoing efforts to maintain and restore raised bogs in Ireland. Finding a compromise between the obligations of the Habitats Directive and the rights of domestic turf-cutters was always going to be difficult, but considerable progress has been made in recent years.

Maurice is also working with Bord na Mona who are engaged in a programme of restoring some of their cutaway bogs to their previous state. This involves first and foremost blocking the drains and allowing the bogland to rewet itself, and then primarily allowing nature to take its course. Further details can be found on Bord na Mona's website:

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

10th and 18th June Ireland's Eye trips

Dublin Branch went on its annual trips to Ireland's Eye this month on the 10 and 18th June. As usual there was great interest in the trips and a good turnout. The weather was good for us and a lot of wild birds were seen including guillemots, cormorants, gannets and great black backed gulls. The views of Howth and the island were also amazing! Thanks to Brendan for the photos.
At Ireland's Eye's Martello Tower


Great Black Backed Gulls - adults and chicks 



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.