circa.4300 BC to 2020 AD

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Wildlife Newsletter for the Township of Dalkey     
July / 2020 - Michael Ryan

 I’ve been trying to learn bumblebee identification. Fairly certain this is a male White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) since the male of the species has a broader yellow collar then the queens and workers and the yellow facial hair is a key indicator.

  The local ravens successfully fledged three chicks in spring. Here a adult bird is on the left with a fledgling. You can see just see the pink spot on the corner of the young bird’s bill, this seems to act as a incentive to get the parent to feed them and it’s the only stage in their lives when they won’t be totally jet black.

  I’d got up early to see the sunrise but this Song Thrush was up before me greeting the dawn from the top of a cedar tree. Song Thrushes are one of the first birds to sing at dawn and often the last bird singing at dusk.

 A most unlikely unexpected sighting on a very quiet part of Killiney Hill was this bird, a female mallard, not something you’d expect to find on a granite hilltop.

 Enlarged view
of the Mallard

  This Hooded Crow spent ages gently preening it’s mate on the back lawn on a sunny afternoon.


  This Holly Blue butterfly was systematically making it’s way around a holly tree in the garden and may well have been egg laying. In spring they lay a single egg at the base of unopened holly flower buds and subsequently the butterflies that emerge will lay their eggs on ivy to overwinter.

  This nest of hundreds of tiny spiders was wreathed in silk keeping them safe from the rain.
Photo by Lucy Desierdo

  We often have big flocks of starlings descend on the area in late spring. Not a bird we normally get in the vicinity, at this time of the year these flocks contains dozens of juveniles. Thankfully they don’t go on to my feeders as I couldn’t afford to feed any more birds. Anyhow this adult starling seems happy enough with the earwig it’s caught.
  Bee Gone. When the gorse in Dalkey Quarry was in full bloom it attracted lots of honey bees. This one above is flying away with it’s pollen sacs clearly visible.

 Sadly by midsummer most of the blackbirds will have stopped singing. You’ll still get the occasional male singing in July, especially if the weather has been good and they’re still nesting but generally it’ll be next February or March before we’ll hear their beautiful song again.


Images & Text by :- Michael Ryan