Monday, 30 July 2018

Bull Island Wildflower Walk - July 8th

The Dublin Branch held its annual Bull Island Wildflower Walk on July 8th led by branch member Niall Mac Coitir. The walk was very successful despite the drought, and as usual lots of wildflowers were seen. The elusive bee orchid evaded us this year as well, but several other species of orchid were spotted. Thanks to Brendan for the photos.

Marsh Helleborine

Common Spotted Orchid


White Pyramidal Orchid

Haresfoot clover with its fluffy flowers

Green Drinks July 3rd - Ireland's Rarest Tree

For the July Dublin Branch Green Drinks talk, Daniel Buckley, a former IWT Chairperson and currentNPWS conservation ranger, spoke on the topic of Black Poplar conservation in Ireland. Daniel is enthusiastic about native tree conservation and has been doing his own research on black poplar which is Ireland's rarest tree.

It had been thought that the black poplar was introduced to Ireland, but populations have been found around lakes in the west which are varied enough to suggest that it is a native tree that has been reproducing here naturally. The Black Poplar is an unusual tree in that it has separate male and female forms, and that it needs particular conditions beside lakes and rivers to reproduce. Ireland has populations of both sexes of tree, which suggests a natural population, as the female tree with its messy fluffy seeds is not generally planted deliberately. Further research, including DNA testing, will be needed to confirm its native status. In the meantime, Daniel is working to raise awareness of this unusual part of our flora.

Black Poplar - Populus nigra

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

10th & 17th June 2018 - Trips to Ireland's Eye

For the eighth year in a row, the Dublin branch organised two trips to Ireland’s Eye. As in previous years, both outings were fully booked up and on both occasions participants fully appreciated the charm of this unique little island north of Howth Harbour. Fortunately, the weather also played its part and grey seals popping up in the water added to our enjoyment.

In order to reduce disturbance to nesting seabirds, Fingal County Council put up sign posts to the main sights and also started to form paths across the island by just strimming the vegetation. These simple measures appear to work well as most visitors we met seemed to stick to the paths.

It was thrilling to be close up to so many seabirds, including different species of gulls, terns and auks, fulmars, cormorants and shags, oystercatchers, and, of course, the star bird of the island, the gannet, nesting on the spectacular rock, the Stack. But what people enjoyed most were the many chicks running around already making a lot of noise and life difficult for their parents. Thankfully, John Fox (Birdwatch Ireland) was with us and answered the many questions people had in regard to the birds’ nesting, feeding, migration, behaviour and lifespan. 

Photos courtesy of Brendan and Sam