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Save Dunmanus Bay

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ireland's Butterfly survey- Volunteers needed.

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus.

The local House Sparrows used to house their colony in the Hawthorn,
Crataegus monogyna, behind our garden wall, where they had food in my garden just a hop over te wall, food in autumn/winter in the large hedgerow where their colony had chosen to set up home. Then in autumn/winter they went through a very bad patch when the disease Trichomoniasis invaded the colony. Some of them survived, but they are now spread out, over hedges around the estate, and trees around the estate. With 12 new houses and more and more people starting to become aware of their needs, I see less of them.

We all know that Butterflies and Moths are going through a very difficult time.
What the impact of a changing climate, and loss of habitat, to name just two of the obstacles the modern European Butterfly has to overcome in these times.

Richard Collins of the Irish Examiner writes that in certain parts of Europe, the number of grassland species has gone down by half!
It is clear that here in Ireland we have a loss, similar to this European outcome, yet we do need to find out how these creatures are coping with the changing landscape, climate, and most of all, loss of habitat.
So how do e find out how many there are? Simple really; you count them. In order to this however, you need a lot of people who do so for you.

So what kind of people do qualify to take part in this important survey? Well, almost anyone really.
All you need to ba able to, is go for a walk once a week between april and September, and along a route which you can chose yourself. about the length of 1.5 --2 kilometres. So think of all the good it wil do to you mind and to your body. and preferably the walk passes through different habitats.
There is a shortage of volunteers in rural Ireland it seems.

You will get identification charts and notes, to help you underway.

as it is not to sign up, you can still contact the Irish Butterfly monitoring sceme :

It is an European attempt to keep track of what is happening to the Butterflies of each individual country. The transect- survey was born in 1976, and 14 European countries are taking part. Ireland joined in 2006.

april might be gone, yet there is still a lot of time left between now and September.

According to Irish folklore, the Red Admiral Butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, is the representative of the devil. On a lighter note, the Irish also believe(d?) that Butterflies are in fact the souls of dead people. I do not know the finer pointsof this folkore, but I think it is a wonderful way to be remembered to certain people which you lost over the years.

Small Magpie Moth,
Eurrhypara hortulata

This little attractive Moth called in at about 5-6 times in 2008. The first time I saw it inside my kitchen, was in early January. So it was a real joy to see it, last night when it landed on the blind on my kitchen door. We tried moving it to the dark outside world, but were unable to. After searching the kitchen for it this morning, and, unable to find it, I was pleased when it returned to my table area and the kitchendoor, where it sat waiting very obliging, until I got around the table with a little container to help place it outside in these strong winds. and indeed the container was needed, like I thought it would. It hates the wind, you see, so getting outside or leaving the tub, is not very attractive!

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