Posted by: All things nice.. | January 13, 2010

International Swan Census

The next fully-coordinated International census of Whooper & Bewick’s Swans is scheduled to take place over the weekend of 16th & 17th January 2010. This census in Ireland is being organised by the I-WeBS Office, the Irish Whooper Swan Study Group and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Visit Bird Watch Ireland for more information.

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Posted by: All things nice.. | January 11, 2010

The “Big Freeze” in Ireland

Sorry for the lack of blogging over the Christmas and New Year, I will get around to posting more posts soon. Here are just a few photographs I have taken of the Irish Countryside during the “Big Freeze”.

Below is a beautiful Goldfinch at the bird feeder, remember to feed the birds this weather as the cold weather makes it difficult for them to find their natural food, such as insects, worms, berries and seed. Dry white bread is not recommended as it can cause bloating and cannot be digested properly. It bloats the birds stomach and does not have enough energy in it, so maybe try to avoid it where possible and if you continue to give them bread, try wet brown bread.

The next photograph is of some of the snowfall we experienced over the last few weeks and the final photographs are of some of our frozen lakes. Alot of people are walking and fishing on these frozen lakes and in some areas cars are been drove on them, the Gardai have urged people not to go out on the frozen lakes as people are putting their lives at risk of drowning.

Also remember to visit any people who may be isolated, have poor mobility, no transport or live in rural areas. These people may have no water or heating and very little contact with other members of the community. We have no water at our house and it can also cause problems for heating so maybe contact people to ensure they are safe, have heating and food supplies.

  

Posted by: All things nice.. | December 24, 2009

Blanket of snow over Ireland

Posted by: All things nice.. | December 19, 2009

“Cooked Turkey Fat- Dangerous to Birds”

I just came across a post on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds who are responsible for the protection of wild bird populations in Britain which are warning that cooked turkey fat is extremely dangerous to birds. They state that

“Many people put the leftover contents of Christmas dinner roasting tins outside, wrongly believing that it is as beneficial to birds as other fats like lard and suet. They pour the fat onto bird tables or mix it with seed thinking it will give birds energy and nutrients. But the wildlife charity is warning that it could actually kill them. Cooked turkey fat is completely unsuitable for birds for several reasons. It remains soft even when cooled, meaning it could smear onto birds’ feathers and ruin their water-proofing and insulating qualities. Birds need clean, dry feathers to survive the cold and a layer of grease would make this virtually impossible. The softness of turkey fat once cooked also means it is impractical to make popular ‘bird cake’ where you mix fawith bird seeds, as it will not harden enough to hold its shape. The fat in roasting tins cannot be separated from other leftover elements such as meat juices. This concoction can go rancid very quickly, especially if left in a warm kitchen for a while before being put outside, and form an ideal breeding ground for salmonella and other food poisoning bacteria. Birds are prone to bacterial infections at this time of year as their defenses are low and their energy levels depleted with the cold. Also, many people add other ingredients to a joint of meat before roasting including rubbing it liberally with salt in order to crisp the skin. High levels of salt are toxic to garden birds”

For more information visit the RSPB Latest News Section

Goldfinch

 

Posted by: All things nice.. | December 15, 2009

What is Biodiversity??

Biodiversity is all around us from the bogs, to the scenic lakes, wetlands and grasslands within the landscape. It also occurs in urban centres. Biodiversity is all around us everywhere, be it a spider spinning a web in the corner of the house or mosses on a stone wall, it is part of our life. There are numerous benefits of biodiveristy and therefore it is important for a number of reasons including;

•Health Benefits- filters pollutants, prevents flooding, better quality of life

•Economic Benefits- direct and indirect jobs, tourism, food, fuel, raw materials

 •Cultural Benefits- heritage, folklore, placenames

Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs)

What are Local Biodiversity Action Plans you may ask??

Local Biodiversity Action Plans translate International, European and National policies and obligations at a more local level. They provide a framework for the conservation of biodiversity while assisting in sustainable planning and development. They also help to promote and raise public awareness of biodiversity. They help to collate and collect information on biodiversity at a local level. Under the National Biodiversity Plan (2002)  each Local Authority must prepare a Local Biodiversity Action Plan for their area. Biodiversity Action Plans  engage a number of people from wide ranging sectors to forumalte a plan to give guidance, provide clarity and support for people’s aims as well as help prevent unnecessary repetition. The Local Biodiversity Action Plan consists of Aims, Objectives and Actions which should be undertaken within the time frame of the plan.

For more information on Biodiversity in Ireland check out the National Parks and Wildlife Service Website or the National Biodiversity Data Centre Website

Posted by: All things nice.. | December 12, 2009

Identification of the Mute Swan

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

The Mute Swan is an elegant looking swan, with a graceful curved S shaped neck. Its feathered are puffed. It has an orange bill with black at the base of it. It has a prominent knob on the forehead. In flight the neck is extended and wings beat regularly and slowly. They are common in lakes, rivers and ponds. Their nests are made from large mounds of reeds. The cygnets are greyish in colour.

*Photographs taken by myself in County Monaghan in November 2009 and sorry for the poor quality of the sketch.

Posted by: All things nice.. | December 10, 2009

Irish Wetlands Bird Survey (I-WeBS)

Today I learned about the Irish Wetland Bird Survey iWeBS which is a joint project of Birdwatch Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Ireland supports over a million migrant waterbirds each winter. Most species which occur in Ireland migrate from the north and northwest (Canada, Greenland and Iceland) or from the northeast (northern continential Europe, including Scandinavia, Russia and Siberia), moving south to winter predominately in west and northwest Europe and west Africa (Wetlands International, 2006, Wernham et al., 2002). The climate in Ireland and the variety of wetland habitats attract the wintering waterbirds to Ireland.

I-WeBS aims to monitor all non- breeding waterbirds in Ireland to provide data on which the conservation of their populations and wetland habitats is based. I-WeBS has three main objectives;

– To assess the importance of individual sites for waterbirds,

-To assess the size of non-breeding waterbird populations inIreland,

-To assess trends in their numbers and distributions.

Anyone intersted in taking part in the survey can find further details on the Bird Watch Ireland Website

Posted by: All things nice.. | December 5, 2009

Our Built Heritage

There are a number of demesnes, estates, castles, country houses and manors dotted throughout Ireland. It is vital that these grand houses are protected for future generations as they are an important part of our built, cultural and indeed in cases our natural heritage. Unlike todays buildings these buildings are not mass produced they were constructed by craftsmen and stonemasons. There were no diggers and electrical equipment like cement mixers and mass produced blocks, each stone was carved manually. The sheer amount of physical work that went into building these grand houses is testament to the skills of the people who helped in the construction of these buildings.

Here are just an example of some of these buildings which are no longer residences to wealthy families but have found new uses which will ensure that they are protected for future generations while allowing the general public visit and appreciate them. However during our Celtic Tiger overdevelopment has taken place right across the country and some of our heritage has been lost as a result, however here are a few examples which have ensured the protection of the unique features of the building while providing a modern day use for these buildings. Most of these uses tend to be for the hospitality sector due to the sheer size of these buildings.

Lough Rynn House– Now a hotel

Farnham Estate- The Radissan Hotel Cavan– Now a hotel

Markree Castle– Now a hotel

Solis Lough Eske– Now a hotel

Castle Leslie Estate– Now a hotel

Castlesaunderson Estate– work in progress to become a scouting centre: multi-facility and Adventure Centre, including permanent Jamboree site, capable of accommodating 1,000 people. The Castlesaunderson Project is one of a small number of flagship projects thanks receiving funding of over €3 million from the European Union’s Peace III managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Posted by: All things nice.. | November 26, 2009

Heritage Council of Ireland

If you would like some up to date Heritage news from Ireland, check out the Heritage Council website.  They seek to protect and enhance the richness, quality and diversity of Ireland’s national heritage for everyone. The Winter 2009-Spring 2010 Heritage Outlook Publication is available online, it features the latest heritage related matters in Ireland.

 

Posted by: All things nice.. | November 19, 2009

Native Plant Species Ireland

Native Plant Species are species which have arrived in Ireland naturally without the assistance of people. These species were present in Ireland before the last Ice Age. They adapted to the environmental conditions in Ireland and therefore thrive here. Native Plant Species are very beneficial to wildlife providing both food and shelter. The fauna and insects of Ireland have adapted to live with native species over time.

Native Species of plants and trees sustain the greatest biodiversity. When landscaping around your home use native species where possible. Local nurseries and garden centres will have a range of native species in stock.

Non native or invasive species should be avoided. Suitable plants may include native and indigenous plants which may include;

Ash

Ivy

Blackthorn

Dog Rose

Holly

Crab Apple

Guelder Rose

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