circa.4300 BC to 2018 AD
  Contact Us :

Wildlife Newsletter for the Township of Dalkey
                    March / 2018 - Michael Ryan

  With their fiendishly difficult to extract roots, Dandelions have long been considered a serious enemy of gardeners but they are actually a very useful plant as a early provider of pollen for many bees, hoverflies and other insects since they flower so early in the year before most garden plants. The National Biodiversity Data Centre have an All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to help bees and other insects and on their website, they have a number of very worthwhile pdfs to download for specific groups or areas such as gardens, schools, farms, councils and tidy town organisations, showing how they can create pollinator friendly environments. In the garden section the first of ‘5 Examples of Pollinator Friendly Actions for Gardens is’. Let the Dandelions Bloom! They provide vital food for pollinators, especially in early spring when little else is flowering in our gardens’.
   Apparently, in a very encouraging development Dalkey Tidy Towns have approached the Parks Department with a view to making Sorrento Park a pollinator friendly park.
   A small compensation for Lucy being home sick with a very nasty flu was looking out the kitchen window and seeing two uncommon visitors to the bird feeders, a pair of jays.
Her attention had initially been attracted by the finches and tits taking to the air, very unhappy with their interlopers and she saw one angry goldfinch actually pecking ineffectually at one of the jays as it skilfully hung upside down extracting sunflower seeds from the feeder.

Spare that dandelion, they’re very important for insects
Photo Michael Ryan

A jay visiting the bird feeders, welcome by me but not the other birds
Photo Lucy Desierdo

Glossy Ibis, one of three at Newcastle East Coast Nature Reserve     Photo Michael Ryan



   We eventually got down to Wicklow to have a look for the Glossy Ibis some of a number of these birds that had arrived in Ireland this winter. Some settled in Bunihinly bog in Co Westmeath and another at Lough Boora Discovery Park in Offaly but luckily for us three of them decided to come a lot closer and flew into Birdwatch Ireland’s East Coast Reserve at Newcastle.Two years ago Dick Coombes wrote an article in Birdwatch’s Wings magazine speculating that glossy ibis might become a breeding species in Ireland following on Little Egrets which have gradually expanded their range north from Southern Europe and first nested in Ireland in 1997 with a dozen pairs simultaneously breeding in a Co. Waterford heronry and now commonplace around the country.
    The Glossy Ibis are also birds of wetlands, resembling a curlew with long legs and down curving bill but larger and much darker. Although a gloomier theory is the birds are moving because their breeding areas are drying out glossy ibis have always been known as adventurous birds, who have been expanding their territorial range for centuries (flying across the Atlantic Ocean to South America from where they’ve spread north) and it would be more positive to hope they were moving to expand their numbers. Some previous glossy ibis that arrived here had large coloured rings which could be read by telescope showing those particular birds came from Cota Donana in Spain
    At the East Coast Reserve, a Little Grebe
and a flock of Wigeon swam in front of the first hide on glistening smooth water. Some people arrived who told us a woodpecker had been seen earlier and was doing its display drumming on a tree on the other side of the road from the reserve but no sign of the ibis until suddenly a pair flew past, right in front of the hide.
   We moved to another hide, couldn’t see where they’d landed but saw three buzzards soaring in lazy spirals before one of them swooped low and suddenly the glossy ibis were in the air again. We moved back to the reserve entrance and from there we could see not two but three glossy ibis striding around jabbing their long bills into the soft ground and wandering in and out of a line of beech trees. When passing Booterstown Marsh on the Dart you can often see groups of little egrets roosting on the raised mounds in the marsh at high tide and, who knows, in years to come they might be joined by glossy ibis.